First off, thanks to the Viper Room for randomly handing Tess and I pretty awesome shirts and the door. Must have been shirt night... I didn't know... so... pleasant surprise. Thanks! (actually, i just looked it up, apparently having tickets ahead of time gets you a shirt... thanks still though!)
Before I get into the awesome that is Semi Precious Weapons, I'd like to mention their opening bands (that I saw, I missed the first two but SPW rarely travels with crap so I'll certainly be checking them out shortly, Lady Sinatra and DJ High Voltage for anyone else interested):
Singapore was pretty decent but I gotta say they sort of made me want to listen to a couple other bands a bit. I told Tess they sounded like Jack White Horeconteurs Stripes... but I still very much enjoyed them. They have some solid lyrics, they play well and both of their singers have voices that fit well into the music they play. I'd have listed their myspace link here but I seriously can't find them... and there are a bunch of bands called Singapore on myspace. Hell I might even go so far as to buy them on itunes! gasp.
Purple Melon ( http://www.myspace.com/purplemelonspace ) kicked so much ass. Despite Singapore making me crave some Jack White and Alison Mosshart, both they and Purple Melon played something I have not heard proper in a club in... ever...
ROCK AND ROLL! The way Lucifer intended!
The way it was meant to be played. With solos, tunes, lyrics about life that hit below the belt, long shaggy hair remincent of Led Zeppelin or Jefferson Airplane or any band really from the glory days of rock. They looked like they had style and not just American Apparel gift cards (and nothing else). The best part was they could play. Really play! They knew how to put on a show.
Purple Melon especially. Wow. They're from England, did a stellar cover of Baby I'm Amazed to close their set, won over the crowd and looked like they enjoyed being on stage together. I've only seen that a couple of times to be honest. Ima Robot put on a hell of a show at the Key Club a couple years back. But most shows I've gone to in the last few years featured bands whose members I couldn't tell apart (both from each other or other bands there). Bands that seemed to only know how to find their local American Apparells and Hot Topics and not much else. (I have nothing against Hot Topic or American Apparell in theory, but I do hate when people only wear ONE store just to wear THAT store). Rock N Roll doesn't need a uniform. Nobody should need instructions to know how to rock! (thank you ATHF fans who got that reference). So Purple Melon, thank you for an opening act I valued only a smidge less than the headliners (I just met you though so its not an insult! I also just realized also that they're playing a few shows in August around the LA area, so hopefully I can get to know them better).
Sure we need our dance music for dancing and our indie music for... I don't know... smelling how great our own farts are cuz we're so above it all (again, that's directed at the GENRE. Those who tried to hard to be Indie rather than just ending up there for being quirky... Brandon Flowers, I'm lookin' at you bub!). We need our acoustic ballads for rainy day weeping and whatever. We need are screamo/hardcore/grindcore for... actually do we need those? I guess we need those so when we hear some solid ROCK as delivered by the likes of a Purple Melon so we realize we're getting something special. I soaked up every minute, the whole crowd seemed to. Its nice to go to a show and not see a bunch of clones in skinny jeans and bangs only letting one eye be visible that looks at the ceiling or floor and while sighing loudly.
The first breath of fresh air though, in what I'm PRAYING is to be the thing to do in music (again... back for the first time... whatever) , to rock the hell out of the Knitting Factory (where I first saw them) and this time in the pleasantly small Viper Room...
SEMI PRECIOUS WEAPONS from New York Motherfucking City as lead singer Justin Tranter bellows often. He also calls his audience dirty filthy whores, sluts, kunts (Tranter's spelling) and whatever else he can think of. The Semi Precious Weapons perform like no other band I've personally had the pleasure of seeing. The only emotional response I've ever had as strongly as the one I have for SPW was seeing Arcade Fire at Cochella a while back... but thats a different sort of emoting than you do at SPW. This band makes you feel a little guilty for not being covered in eyeliner and glitter with your best heels on. Tranter is always as appropriately innappropriate as always in a sort of fishnet mini skirt thing with matching tights and silver high heeled boots that he kicked around stage in like he was born in them. He probably was.
They exploded onto stage in top form, making demands of the audience (at one point for titties Justin recquired for inspiration... sadly no one obliged at the Viper Room, the Knitting Factory gave 'em up easy). One fan up front, who looked more than a little past .o8 on the blood/alcohol scale, tried one to many times to get a hand on Tranter's body stocking and was met with this threat, "Don't touch me! Only ladies touch me! [pause] I'll hit you." Which was of course met with applause and laughter.
Tranter is certainly a huge ingredient into SPW's pressence, but his band is easily as much to blame. Guitarist Steven Pyne solos and shreds without missing a note while being kicked and thrown around stage to say nothing of his own leaping and bounding. Sadly the Viper Room's stage was a bit small so he ended up in booths and even laying on the standing room area floor a few times. At the Knitting Factory he finished an amazing solo standing on drummer Dan Crean's bass drum. Everyone in the band is on their game and seemingly launching notes like mortar shells. Basest Cole Whittle thrashes around stage like he's in his own personal mosh pit. Intensity doesn't begin to cover it.
I'm most thankful for SPW because I think its the closest I'll ever feel to seeing The Stooges (who I'm obviously way to young to have seen when they mattered). SPW does not give a fuck what you think. And they will tell you. Tranter told us all to shut up so he could sing a song they'd never performed before that would lift our hearts. One crowd member shouted is it Freebird? To which Tranter replied, "Who said "Freebird'? I'll stick a stillheto in your kunt!" Their new song Vamp was amazing, it was my first time hearing it too. They closed with the awesome ballad: Rock and Roll Never Looked So Beautiful... easily one of the greatest additions (especially lyrically) to the genre in YEARS.
I could go on. Just do yourself a favor and go check em out:
And whatever you think of their studio stuff, they're eyebleeding awesome live. They play Friday night and Saturday night at the Viper Room if anyone reads this in time. Otherwise get the record, watch for the next one and see them as soon as you fucking can you dirty filthy kunts!