21 May 2009

POPFEST! day one: the ballet, my teenage stride, the metric mile, dream bitches, the soft city, and knight school

NYC POPFEST 2009! The Ballet @ the Cake Shop, New York (May 14, 2009)

(This is the first in a series of week-late Popfest reviews. I will try to keep them short, but it is so hard when I had such a great weekend!)

Somewhere between Chicago and New York, it was raining, delaying our flight before take-off for more than an hour. Luckily, I made it to the Cake Shop in plenty of time to catch Knight School kick-off NYC Popfest 2009! Filled with NYC bands, the first night proved to be a great start to a wonderful weekend of music.

I have long been charmed by the cover (featuring many cats) of Knight School’s CDR The Poor and Needy Need to Party released on LostMusic, but I finally ordered it a few months ago and have kept it on frequent rotation since. Buzzy and loud but full of hooks, Knight School certainly fits in with the rest of the NYC pop scene, but there is something uniquely appealing about them. They played a loud and fast set that left my ears ringing for the rest of the night.

The Soft City played a nice set, too, even if it was their first show! They just have one tiny single out on Cloudberry, so I am interested in hearing more. Some videos of their set from Popfest are up now on their Myspace, and I am really enjoying “Capital Soul,” even a week later.

The crowd was definitely into the four heavily tattooed and bobbed girls in Dream Bitches, but something about their style of pop music is a little too much for me. Snotty 90s girl pop is all well and good, but sometimes it just seems so contrived. They sounded and played great, though, so I have no complaints. And it may just have been their last show, which is too bad!

Appropriately, someone called out “The Field Mice!” during The Metric Mile’s set. Certainly, the band sounds very much like The Field Mice, but only in the best ways possible. Soft synth with lush orchestration, they may have been the band I was most pleasantly surprised by for the evening.

That would be, of course, until My Teenage Stride played. I’ve had their album forever, but I don’t listen to it that frequently. What a mistake that is!! They played an energetic set with fantastic pop songs. I guess they’ve been releasing a song a month lately, so that is something I need to check out.

And, finally, The Ballet. I think I am a relatively latecomer to this NYC band, but god knows why—a gay pop band (and there are so few!) with perfectly crafted songs should have found me immediately. They did a really great job of translating their songs live, and it’s always nice to not hear the album replayed for you. They did a great cover of “Take Ecstasy with Me,” appropriate for the NYC-themed evening, and played all of the songs I have come to love over the past few months, “Personal,” “In My Head,” and “Cheating on Your Boyfriend.” They said they are working on a new album now, which is very exciting. They didn’t have the live cello player as has surfaced during previous performances, but that was perfectly fine. They were an absolutely perfect finish to a wonderful first night of pop music.

Knight School - "Pregnant Again"
Knight School - "Crybaby"

The Soft City - The Soft City
The Soft City - "Wallflower"

The Metric Mile - "Amateurs"
The Metric Mile - "In Praise of Ski Jumpers"

My Teenage Stride - "Ears Like Golden Bats"

The Ballet - "Personal"
The Ballet - "Cheating on Your Boyfriend"

1 comment:

String Bean Jen said...

I'm reading your reviews now!

I'm glad you liked the Soft City. I like them lots but prefer it when Phil Sutton (the drummer) sings as he did on their Cloudberry single. Have you heard it? It's phenomenal. I listen to it all the time! But from now on apparently Dora is going to sing all Soft City songs. Sad! :-(

Dream Bitches - how you describe them is just how i pictured they'd be. Not for me.

I really need to listen to the Metric Mile more. I think they have a single or two out. Now that is just my sort of thing!

Yes, My Teenage Stride are so excellent live. And I think their (well, Jed's) sense of humor comes out so much better live.

Oh, the Ballet! One day I'll see them. ONE DAY.