Bad Cello – Live at Palisades – 10/4/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video)
by Steven Spoerl
It’s strange for most of the buzz surrounding a show to be granted to the opening act but that seemed to be the case with last Sunday’s Bad Cello show at Palisades. The reason for that intrigue was due in part to the fact that this was to be the first time anyone would hear Patio, a band that’s been steadily practicing for months. As the trio took the stage there was a palpable level of both excitement and curiosity, with many people on hand to witness Patio’s public unveiling (they’d draw the biggest crowd of the day).
Only a few songs in, the band had staked out an identity; minimalist post-punks with a flair for wry humor, dissonance, and a strong pop sensibility (Sonic Youth’s more contained side and the early ’90s slacker punk movement stand out as very clear influences). As is always the case with new bands performing for the first time, there were a few hiccups here and there but that only seemed to lend to the project’s considerable charm. Vocal leads were traded off with a relative ease and the band committed to a gambit that came in the form of “Micro-balls”, a song rife with absurd sexual humor that paid massive dividends. The band was in complete control by the time their set closer rolled around, all but guaranteeing a promising future as a DIY staple.
Jeanette Wall, who set the show up (and who, like Patio’s Loren DiBlasi, has contributed to this site’s A Year’s Worth of Memories series), took the stage next to perform a handful of songs from her Band Practice project. Never taking herself too seriously, Wall infused her set with some genuinely entertaining (and mostly self-deprecating) banter that never came at the expense of the actual worth of her songs. All of the songs remained engaging even when stripped of their full-band trappings, allowing Wall an excess of space that was ably filled with charisma. The set was effectively split between comedy and music, with each half of the equation complementing the other to a surprising degree.
Following Wall’s entertaining theatrics were Glueboy, a young band that’s carved out a nice spot for themselves in Brooklyn’s DIY circle. Two releases into a young career, the band’s got heavy connections to DBTS and Double Double Whammy and those influences are very evident. Glueboy slipped into my listening rotation when I was looking for apartments in Brooklyn and wound up securing a spot where their bassist, Coby Chafets, was already residing (incidentally, I would move to that spot after a brief stint at DBTS).
Their brand of shambolic, punk-tinged basement pop appealed to me and allowed for some early ease of mind in the transition. However, despite that (and listening in on numerous acoustic jam sessions), I’d never seen the band play their songs live. On stage, their presence is relatively fearless, with each member making the most out of their granted space. Chafets and guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Marty trade off vocals at a rapid succession and occasionally sing in harmony, proving themselves to be a livewire act who manage to come across as both endearing and endlessly entertaining without ever sacrificing any substance.
By the time Glueboy’s explosive set had wound to an end, only a scattered handful of people remained for the electro-pop of Miscreant act Bad Cello, who still committed to the performance despite the glaring lack of numbers (I can’t think of a greater attendance disparity from opening band to headlining act that’s happened in recent memory). Showcasing material new and old, Bad Cello provided a dance-minded epilogue to the decidedly hodgepodge bill that somehow found a way to bridge a few contextual gaps. It’s difficult to imagine that each of the bills four acts won’t find their way to bigger things in their respective circuits as they move ahead. Genuine talent and a depth of promise wound up being the recurring themes of the matinee shows and it’ll be worth keeping eyes on each act as they move towards capitalization.
Watch a collection of videos from the show below and scan through a gallery of photos here.