Monday, November 15, 2010
Show Review: Cymbals Eat Guitars, Great Caesar, Art Decade @ The Space
Words: Monica Lyons
Pics: John Kritzman Full set of photos here!
Click on the images to makes them larger!
On Saturday November 6th, 2010, a crowd gathered at the Space in Hamden to see Cymbals Eat Guitars, Great Caesar, and the Art Decade. However, this wasn’t just any other show, but an event put on Quinnipiac University’s student-run radio station, WQAQ, for its annual Music for Meals benefit concert. For a nice, feel-good change, admission was $5 or free with 2 canned goods, in which all proceeds went toward the Hamden Food Bank for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Past headliners for this event have included bands such as Patent Pending, Nightmare of You, and Bottle Up and Go.
I have to apologize because when I walked in, Great Caesar was already in full swing. I hope I didn’t miss an epic introduction. It didn’t take long to see that Great Caesar definitely puts out a vibe. During the performance, they were able to transform the Space from a casual Connecticut venue to a jazzy New York night club. With the help of a brilliant brass section complimented by the full bodied vocals of singer John-Michael Parker, Great Caesar produces vibrant and catchy melodies. Contemporary but with a classic touch, their music sounds like they incorporate the genres of ska, ragtime, jazz, and rock. Their sound is creative and original with all instrumentals flowing perfectly on tempo with each other. They got the crowd moving with songs such as “Everyone’s a VIP to Someone,” which tells of tragic love. Great Caesar was able put the spotlight on each instrument ranging from smooth guitar solos to blaring saxophones, bringing everyone’s talent in unison. They can appeal to many different musical tastes and still have their own personal style. Great Caesar played like professionals while having fun as members sang along to their songs and smiled upon the approving crowd.
Art Decade came next as its three members assembled on stage. They really blew away any typical 3 piece band expectations and illustrated their experimental and progressive genius. With intricate guitar solos and sweet sounding vocals, Ben Talmi used several effects to bring forth psychedelic sounds and creative echoes. All members showed personal style and an advanced sense of musicianship in their performance. Between beautiful harmonies, sophisticated drum beats, and flowing bass lines, I found the funk within Art Decade. It was refreshing how each song was different from the last, ranging from simultaneous chanting to powerfully charming songs such as “The Queen.” I found them timely and stylish. Talmi can really shred a guitar and he knows it, as he slammed his guitar face down to end the set. In February, Art Decade joined up with a full string quartet composed of classically trained string players from Berklee College of Music. I’m really bummed this wasn’t incorporated that night. Maybe next time.
With any mention of cool made on Pitchfork, indie hipsters are sure to gather. Whether this is true or not, a good amount of people did come to the Space to see Cymbals Eat Guitars that night, which was voted “Best New Music” by Pitchfork in 2009 and earned 8.3 out of 10 in their review. Cymbals Eat Guitars set up rather quickly and brought their energy loud and clear as front man Joseph “Ferocious” D'Agostino wailed into the microphone and slammed the strings of his guitar. Listening to a mix of songs from their 2009 album Why There are Mountains as well as music from their upcoming album in March, Cymbals Eat Guitars was incredibly captivating. Their music fixated the crowd with drifting instrumental intervals, experimental tones, and obscure solos, despite some brief, technical difficulties. Mr. Ferocious brings sentiment to his music by letting his emotions come freely, implementing a “take it or leave it” kind of stance. You can tell he puts his all into each performance while he jitters around and makes hard, chaotic strums on his guitar, all ending with a loose cough and readjustment of his capo. It was also hard to ignore the amount of sweat dripping off his face that formed a pool beneath him. Cymbals Eat Guitars exerts emotion and a genuinely passionate feel. My favorite song was the performance of “And the Hazy Sea” with its dynamic vocals and powerful instrumentals. Their music is something you feel; it’s in your face, influential, and relatable. They completely rocked the house. The confined area of what is the Space allowed Cymbals Eat Guitars, as well as Great Caesar and Art Decade, to really connect with their audience.
As for the benefit itself, the concert proved to be a great success. “I'm not sure how many individual cans were collected, but when we dropped the cans off at the Hamden Food Bank, there were enough to fill up two shopping carts,” said Mike Farrell, guitarist of Great Caesar and General Manager of WQAQ, “I think what surprised us the most was that, even though we only asked for two canned goods, many people showed up with bags of donations.” In addition to cans being donated, money received as cash admission that night was donated to the Food Bank as well. “We put on Music for Meals every fall at the Space, but this year we managed to get a little extra money in our budget to reach for a bigger headliner, and it totally paid off,” commented Farrell, “The entire night couldn't have gone better.”