Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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As all of you know, one of the things I love to do is inspire people to get out there and enjoy themselves at a show. There are venues all over the country where five to ten bucks can have you experiencing new indie bands, and discovering great artists you’ve never heard before. Previously, I’ve used the NYC Scene Report to show folks what one night in the city can sound like, and this week I’m doing it again, as I’m chronicling an evening in late January I spent at The Studio at Webster Hall enjoying Xombie, LTrain, Aligns, and Newborn, rocked a packed house.
* Leading things off for the evening was Newborn, a three man rock outfit from Coney Island. According to their bio, the trio landed on their name because they wanted something that would represent “a way of looking at life with constant marvel, the way a child does.” I don’t know about you, but I think that pretty freakin rad.
When it comes to their live show, I got a slight Soul Asylum vibe from Newborn’s performance. Partially it was the band’s lyrics, partially it was their demeanor, partially it’s that I think Newborn’s music and Soul Asylum’s music would work well together in a playlist.
Thankfully, there wasn’t a reenactment of the scene from the band’s incredibly witty video for “Runaround” where they’re performing to a crowd that’s in a zombie-like state staring into their cell phones. In reality, when Newborn performs they have everyone’s attention.
* Following Newborn were subway buskers turned rockers LTrain. With a name like LTrain, the whole former subway buskers thing is pretty obvious.
Now, as many of you know, I’m a sucker for a hard rocking band with a powerful female vocalist, so when LTrain hit the stage, led by the diminutive, but decidedly kick ass, Crystalla Gonzalez, I was all ears (and yes, I made a joke about hoping their set wouldn’t be interrupted due to train traffic).
Not only were they fantastic, they are a true New York City band, as their sound is a melting pot of multiple rock genres, as well as funk, and even their content is NYC-centric. Take, for example, their song “The Rent Is STILL Too Damn High” off of their debut EP Can’t Pay Bills. It doesn’t get much more New York than that!
* Up next were Brooklyn duo Aligns. According to their Facebook band page, the twosome have one interest – “To rock the f*ck out.” Being that rocking the f*ck out was the overarching theme of the night, not only were they in they right place, they had the right crowd.
Because of the placement of the drums on the stage (which was an unavoidable issue for everyone), visually it was a bit tough to see half of Aligns, as the drummer would only occasionally be visible through an ever-present cloud of fog. While the fog was more than likely from a fog machine, it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if it had been revealed the drummer’s insane energy was causing his drum kit to smoke. Dude is an animal!
If you’d like some proof, check out this live performance video of Aligns from last year. Clearly they’re an indie tag team on the rise.
* Headlining the evening were NYC nu-metal rockers Xombie. Having been in the scene for over half a decade, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call them veterans. As veterans, they f*cking know how to put on a show!
With a mixture of classics that dated back to their first single, “Excuse Me Miss,” and included some of their more recent work, like “Rock Bottom,” Xombie also worked some new material into their set, showcasing the band’s evolution. That evolution has included getting even heavier into the metal aspect of their work, while still not skimping on the lyrics.
I always leave a Xombie show with my ears ringing (yes, partly this is my fault for not putting in my ear plugs in time), and having seen some madness in the crowd. This night was no different. A great time was had by all.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.