Show Review: Fifty on their Heels, the Vultures @ the Beauty Bar

cat dirt throws a pretty mean party, even if a no-show door person meant that he had to do so while collecting cover and manning the prodigious guest list. The only part of his hospitality of which I didn’t partake was the cupcakes, though they looked delicious. Pics from the event will be forthcoming–damn that enigmatic USB cable.

I had a chance to speak with Dan Wise, bassist of the Vultures and guitarist of Kill Me Tomorrow, before the show. I had not seen him in a dog’s age and was glad to be able to catch up. He’s taking upright bass lessons and seems to be enjoying the hell out of it. He made an interesting remark to the effect that he wanted to expand the repertoire of what he could do musically so as to be able to do it throughout his life. “I don’t want to be an aging rocker,” I believe, was the direct quote. I can second that. Dan’s work with Kill Me Tomorrow is excellent, reflecting a sincere desire to break up the narrow approach of dance punk by encorporating all sorts of musical odds and ends, and he’s still actively trying to grow and get better.

Also, I’ll give credit where credit is due. At least on this night, the bar staff was unfailingly polite and helpful. I made mention of a lousy experience there in another one of my posts, so I figure it’s only fair to recognize good work.

This was my first experience with the Vultures, or Chuck Rowell and the Vultures (which are they going by these days?). While I was never a big fan of the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower (though I did give Love in the Fascist Brothel a positive review), I’m less enamoured of the member’s current projects, both of which strike me as genre exercises. The Plot’s approach was famously all over the map; both the Prayers and the Vultures seem to be channeling very specific influences, though one does sunny Beach Boys-esque pop and the other Iggy and the Stooges/New York Dolls glam punk. Chuck’s stage presence is still an exercise in visible (if good natured) disdain for the audience, but his current vocal approach is straight-up Johnny Rotten. Perhaps I caught them on an off night.

Fifty on their Heels spent the entire Vultures set up front and listening intently. However you choose to look at it, the courtesy/honor/gesture wasn’t returned. The Vultures spent most of Fifty’s set stationed at the bar, which was too bad. They missed a pretty energetic offering from Junior, Justin and Nicky. It would have been nice, too, if the crowd had caught some of their energy; I was reminded of the Dismemberment Plan’s hilarious “Doing the Stand Still.” C’mon, it’s Saturday night, it’s a dance punk band and you have the disposable income to already be drinking the night away–can’t you loosen up and shake a leg?  My impression, and I may be incorrect, is that the Beauty Bar’s attracts a dance crowd that is more or less indifferent to a lot of the live music that goes on there. Individual shows, such as Battles or the upcoming appearance by the Bronx, may buck this trend, but it’s probably safe to say that the DJs do more business for the bar than the bands.

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