In this very column, I’ve stepped on the neck of Sub Pop records more than once. I’ve stepped on it, crushed the adam’s apple, laughed openly, pointed my finger, and said a bunch of nasty things. Oh, wait, maybe not in this column, but trust me I have.
I take it all back.
Before I get there, let me start by talking about American Princes, already on my hit list as one of the most underrated of the up-and-coming rock bands I’ve seen. After their appearance at the Yep Roc afternoon showcase, doubters were set straight and new fans were made. The Princes took the stage and ripped through a strategically powerful 45 minute set, completely without artifice and totally on fire. The boys from Little Rock left little question in anyone’s mind about the power they bring to the game, doing righteously impressive performances of songs from Less And Less including a blistering rendition of “This Is The Year” that made people dance away their hangovers. From the comfotable confines of Piano’s, I headed down to Chinatown for some delicious (and really cheap) pho at Pho Grand, followed by an appearance at The Fader House Party. Stockholm’s precociously inventive Lo-Fi-Fnk crushed the standing room only crowd as they engaged in an electronic battle for fun.
After wiping the blood off my ears, I took time out to visit the IODA party where visitors were treated to a DJ set from Thurston Moore and piles of Two Boots pizza so good it was sinful. I took back to The Fader party for a peek at deservingly super-hyped Raleigh-Duramites Annuals. Before I could catch my breath, I blazed off to Hiro Ballroom for the Filter party where the Marie Antoinette soundtrack was being promoted in full effect. A surprisingly well-done set by 80′s act Bow Wow Wow capped off the show with BWW’s own Annabelle Luwin decked out in a full Marie Antoinette costume just for the occasion.
Blazing back to the Lower East Side, I found The Fader House’s doors closed and I couldn’t decide what to do next. Andrea and I decided to see if we could manage our way into the Sub Pop showcase at Bowery Ballroom to which I alluded earler. Badges were, of course, sold out by the time we got there. However, by great fortune, I ran into Dave Hernandez from The Shins. Having not seen each other in three years, Dave was nonetheless kind enough to invite us into the catacombs of the Bowery to join the fracas. Once inside, I scored like 300 hipster bingo points by running into David Cross, Eugene Mirman, and Albert Hammond, Jr. of The Strokes. I also ran into Patrick from Pop Tarts Toasted Suck and had the feverish realization that we might be the only two music bloggers in the whole place. When social hour ended, we went upstairs where we were treated to insanely good performances from CSS, The Thermals, The Album Leaf, and the perennially wonderful boys from Portland known as (guess….) The Shins.
If that weren’t enough, it was refreshing to see Jonathan Poneman himself at the gig along with longtime Sub Pop impresario Megan Jasper who, for the record, looked more beautiful and healthy than I can ever remember seeing her. There was an intense warmth and depth from all the Sub Poppers that felt strangely out of place. I kept thinking to myself, “Can this be real? Sub Pop friendly? Fun?” I lived through years of torture at the hands of the Sub Pop uber-hipster-cronyism in Seattle that was at times rather unpleasant. Suddenly, on this night, instead of seeing a bunch of claw-digging hipsters trying to out cool each other, I was standing in a room full of grown ups who love music so much they came all the way across the country supporting the music they loved. I applaud Sub Pop and their incredible roster and for their newly-found generosity of spirit.
I wanted to go to Vice Afterhours for a chance to check out another band who has been buzzed about lately called The Black Lips, but I got there just in time for puking and breaking down to be the only things in full effect. Fucked Up had cancelled earlier in the evening leading to an appearance by Cold War Kids. Summarily, there were numerous P.A. problems and, according to those in attendance, I didn’t miss much because of the P.A. problems.
Oh well. Maybe next year.