Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ is a fun place to see a show. The room is tiny, but as long as you can get yourself a decent place to stand, it is really a great place to see live music (as an added bonus, the restaurant portion of the club serves pretty decent food and if you can manage to get a seat at the bar, it is a good spot to hang). I've seen a handful of amazing performances there including Los Campesinos!, Russian Circles and my personal favorite, Queens of the Stone Age when they were touring on their self-titled debut album. Last night's sold out The Big Pink/A Place To Bury Strangers was a continuation of the streak of killer performances I've seen at Maxwell's.
Seeing A Place To Bury Strangers live in such an intimate setting definitely required ear plugs as this band is LOUD. This is unsurprising considering the heavy Jesus And Mary Chain and Joy Division influences that are so readily apparent in their sound as those two bands weren't known for being quiet. The band was hidden on the stage by a smoke machine and lights that mainly pointed out towards the audience and kept the between song banter to a minimum (practically non-existent actually), so this was a non-stop attack of heavy distorted bass, thundering drums and feedback heavy guitar. Individual songs weren't sticking out much as there was just a complete wall of sound that was washing over the crowd. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Their sophomore album, Exploding Head was on my Top 25 of 2009 and this performance only sold me even more on this band.
I picked up The Big Pink track "Velvet" as part of a free iTunes sampler early last year and was instantly impressed. I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of their debut album "A Brief History Of Love" last year and upon its release was not disappointed. It was not only in my Top 25 of 2009, but placed #9. Every song is really catchy and the songs translated very well live. Like A Place To Bury Strangers, the banter was kept to a minimum and the focus was on the music. I wasn't sure what the set up of the band was going to be in a live setting as there is a lot of sampling on their album. As it turns out, one of the two full-time members is the sampler/programmer/keyboardist and the other handles the guitar and vocals. Rounded out by a touring bassist and drummer (who was a pretty cute Asian girl...or at least I thought so, my girlfriend got a good look at her when she bought a t-shirt from her after the show and said she wasn't that pretty, but whatever...you can make up your own mind by watching the live footage included below), they were tight live and there was certainly no "bathroom break" moments during their set.
I really loved both performances last night, look forward to seeing both bands live again and recommend that you don't skip on the opportunity to see them when they play near you.
The Big Pink "Dominos"
The Big Pink "Velvet"
The Big Pink "Too Young To Love"
A Place To Bury Strangers "In Your Heart"
A Place To Bury Strangers "Ocean"