Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Postelles Warm Up for Album #2

Tucked away in the back of the Lovin' Cup Cafe in Williamsburg is a hidden gallery and music venue called Cameo.  The Postelles played there on Friday to kick off their fall tour and test out some new songs for their second LP.

I should start off by saying that I had an extremely sore throat due to allergies, so I was in both pain and a Children's Benadryl stupor for the show.  Drink enough of that stuff and you can get pretty dazed.

Opening the door to enter the club, I was hit with a wall of sound (Bring earplugs to this venue if you value your hearing.).  Opening band Rumors were onstage doing their best Cure impersonation, but my drugged-up ass wasn't having it.  I sat in a chair along the wall next to a large pillar that bisects the room.  I watched the colorful streams of light rippling up and down what resembled a chandelier of white shoelaces, hanging above the stage.

I got a drink (because it's always good to mix alcohol and antihistamines) and took a place in the center of the room so I wouldn't be blocked by the giant column.  The Postelles came out at 10:50 and played my favorite song of theirs, "123 Stop" right away.  Usually it's a bad sign when a band kicks it off with their best number (Where do they go from there?), but they were able to keep the momentum going for most of the night.
Lead singer Daniel Balk, who looks like a cross between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Pauly Shore, but with a beard, and shorter than both, announced they were working on their second album and asked if we wouldn't mind hearing some new songs.  A resounding yes from the crowd.  I don't know the names of all of them (setlist help appreciated), but they performed five new ones, including new single "Running Red Lights."  When performed live, most of their pop/rock songs stick tightly to structure and sound the same as their recorded versions, albeit with increased energy.  "Running Red Lights" was a great example, its heaps of bravado definitely upstaging its comparatively tame recorded counterpart.  Before new song "Everyone Knows," Balk encouraged the crowd to have more to drink, to which bassist John Speyer joked, "Our new songs sound better if you have a drink I guess."  Let me assure you, you don't need a drink for this one.  "Everyone Knows" is a super-catchy tale of hooking up that fits snugly among the the best songs of the Postelles' canon, perfectly displaying their ability to wrap up the emotions and frustrations of dating in NYC into a 3-minute pop song.  New ditties "Caught by Surprise" and the dancey "Tidal Wave" were also winners.

After "Can't Stand Still" was unfortunately marred by some yucky bass tone, the crowd joined in in singing "Happy Birthday" to guitarist David Dargahi.  While I usually find it lame and incredibly unnecessary to sing the song at concerts (You never like when people sing it your party, so why here?), it was sweet when Dargahi responded sincerely, "That's the best I've ever had.  Thank you."  Frontman Daniel borrows a lot of his moves from Mick Jagger, gesticulating with his hand on his hip while singing, so it was only fitting that they covered "The Last Time" towards the end of the set.  They closed it out with a blasting "White Night" lit by a dizzying strobe effect.  The house music came on, but the lights stayed off, so we clapped for an encore.

Drummer Billy Cadden stepped out of the door to the right and took his place alone behind his kit.  He began beating out his part to "Boy's Best Friend" and the other band members filed out one by one onstage to accompany him.  Sadly, their instruments hadn't been tuned prior to the encore, forcing Balk to sing in a different key, and genuinely fucking up the song.  "We're gonna actually tune our guitars this time," Balk remarked, and they finished it off with an in-tune, stellar "Stella."

THE POSTELLES – 09.14.12 – CAMEO (51 minutes)

123 Stop / Sound the Alarms / Open the Door (It’s You)* / Hey Little Sister / Everyone Knows* / Sleep on the Dance Floor / Running Red Lights / Can’t Stand Still / Happy Birthday / Caught by Surprise / The Last Time / Tidal Wave / White Night

Boy’s Best Friend / Stella

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