A duo called Sad & French opened the show. One guy sang, played guitar, and occasionally kicked a kickdrum, while the other played upright bass and occasionally sang backup. Under the lights, the singer looked like Nicolas Cage in Con Air, and he had a good punk growl. Unfortunately, the accompanying music was too simplistic to add much, so most of the songs felt incomplete.
Vinnie's I Am the Avalanche bandmate, Mike Ireland, also known as Spirit Houses, came next. I am a fan of the tracks on his album, I Don't Do Drugs Anymore Again, but in the studio, he kept his vocals in check. Live, he had trouble with restraint, singing and screaming his words at top volume, making the songs seem "emo," which is never a good direction. If he can hone his live performance to be as nuanced as his record, he'll go a lot further.
Vinnie Caruana began his set with the same trio he started with at Mercury Lounge: "Symphony," "This One's on Me," and "To Be Dead & in Love." His throaty bellow on full display, he launched into "The Gravedigger's Argument" from Avalanche United. "It's important that you write songs about killing your ex-wife. It's important so you don't do that," he said, extolling the medicinal properties of music. He followed it with "Clean Up" from IATA's first album. "Brooklyn Dodgers" ended with a singalong from a crowd that sounded much better than those at Mercury Lounge.
At 10:45, Matt Embree climbed onto a stool on the stage, drink in hand. He began by thanking everyone for coming to the show because it was essentially unpublicized (Well, aside from yours truly.). He also described Vinnie's flat-faced cat as looking like it had been hit in the head with a spatula made of concrete. "I don't have to worry about my nose getting in my water anymore; just my whiskers," he imitated. "Overcome (the Recapitulation)," which had ended the show on Friday, moved up to the front of the set. After revving up the crowd with the Rx tune, Embree shared, "I feel so very blessed to have so many good friends in New York City, and it's a wonderful place. I have to have at least a $600 hangover or that's how much I lose if I miss my flight tomorrow." "Bring Our Children Home" followed, with "oh-oh-oh" chants supplied in full force by the crowd. After a reprise of Friday's "The King of Carrot Flowers," Matt jumped into the first medley of the night, which included "Scarlet Begonias," "54-46 That's My Number," and "I Second That Emotion." "Just so you know, none of those songs are Sublime songs. They ripped all those songs off," he clarified, despite having sung lyrics from the Sublime versions.
Shots piled up stageside to assist in the hangover. "I look so ungrateful with all these shots sitting up here. How 'bout I finish some of 'dem and I won't look so damn ungrateful?" he suggested in a sing-sing tone. As the evening progressed, Matt became more and more inebriated. Out of nowhere, he questioned, "You guys ever seen Big Momma's House?" which led to a tangent about playing acoustic in a South American jungle, to going to Montreal with a Canada-hating Vinnie, to the advice: "If you're so pissed off that you need to kill someone, just kill yourself." A little later in the show, he went on a riff about California's Prop 8, and divulged how he had once made out with his gay friend to see what it was like. "I think everyone should go home tonight and make out with one of their gay friends and see what happens," he suggested. (Check out video of the banter below.)
"You are all very lovely and attractive people," he complimented the audience. "So are you!" called someone. "You should see me in the morning without my makeup... I look great!" he joked. The banter became downright ridiculous, Embree claiming he knew half the people in the room, even their "drunken-ass aliases, like when you get so drunk you're another person." While he may have seemed like another person between songs, his drunkenness had no effect on his musicianship. His guitar solo in "Taking Chase as the Serpent Slithers" was absolutely ferocious, and he proved his vocal prowess on a soulful cover of Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand." After fulfilling a request for Manu Chao's "Clandestino," Matt snuck in a cover of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" before segueing into "Apparition." He announced what would be his last song, and started playing "March of the Caterpillar." When he reached the jam, he declared, "Are you ready for it to get weird?" and transitioned into "S.T.P." by Sublime. But it didn't stop there. He seamlessly delved into "Only for the Night," which had the entire crowd throwing their heads back to shout to the sky. With the amount of alcohol consumed and the probability of additional security at the airport, hopefully Matt is able to make his flight on time tomorrow. And if he doesn't, he's certainly welcome to stay in Brooklyn.
SPIRIT HOUSES – 09.11.12 – THE ACHERON (19 minutes)
That Ship Has Sailed / Seasick / Holy Eraser / January Wedding / Piles of Dirt / Just Don’t See*
VINNIE CARUANA – 09.11.12 – THE ACHERON (28 minutes)
Symphony / This One’s on Me / To Be Dead & in Love / The Gravedigger’s Argument / Clean Up / Hey / Brooklyn Dodgers
MATT EMBREE – 09.11.12 – THE ACHERON (1 hour, 27 minutes)
Overcome (the Recapitulation) / Bring Our Children Home or Everything is Nothing / The King of Carrot flowers (pt. I) / Scarlet Begonias > 54-46 That’s My Number > I Second That Emotion / Taking Chase as the Serpent Slithers / David’s Birthday / Master of Puppets (tease) / Castles Made of Sand / White Lies / Clandestino / I Heard It Through the Grapevine > Apparition / March of the Caterpillar > S.T.P. > Only for the Night