This past Tuesday we put on the 3 year anniversary party for Parafora Presents: at Backbooth. I've only been working with these dudes for about 2 months, but I am really having fun contributing (I think) to our local music scene. Parafora Presents: was started by Chris Anderson, and he put together an amazing lineup for Tuesday: Monotonix, Surfer Blood, The Tenant, Yip Yip and Basements of Florida. The show went off really well, so thanks a million to all of our friends who came out to support us, it was great to see everyone out supporting the bands.
Basements opened up by playing on the floor while people were still filing in (before the place got completely packed the fuck out). For those of you not familiar with Basements of Florida, they feature three bass players (Patrick O'Neal, Phil Longo, Henry M**$) and two drummers (Tyson Bodiford and Jeff Ilgenfritz) which of course sounds over the top in theory but in execution it works, due in large part to the fact they are all excellent at what they do. Playing on the floor works for them. . . and definitely added to the intimacy of the experience watching them that night. They're playing February 21 at Will's Pub for a Haiti Benefit show, check it out.
Basements was followed up by Yip Yip, which I guess you would call, "experimental." Lots of cool synths, an electric saxophone, drum machines and crazy costumes. The music is replete with a quirkiness that was matched by their stark white attire with white specs and black berets. I described their music as The Mephiskaphales on acid, mostly due to the electric (or should I say electrified?) saxophone and bouncing beats. It's an acquired taste. Kind of like LSD. Their next show is February 16 at BBQ Bar if you want to get nerd zapped.
In a drastic shift in atmosphere, The Tenant was up next. I think Brad Register's smooth vocal delivery was about as big a juxtaposition to Yip Yip's electronic acid trip as could possibly be found, but it worked. Honestly, I am into diverse shows. I enjoy seeing bands play together that you might not always consider obvious. They had a solid set, especially considering Brad lives out in Austin, Texas now and they clearly cannot practice on a regular basis. They didn't even miss a beat when drummer Chandler Strang's kick drum had to be swapped out (yeah, I made that joke.)
Surfer Blood came up next. Pitchfork loves this band, so I am sure there are some people out there who have a preconceived notion that they are a cliché hipster band with no substance. If you are of this opinion, you are only doing your self a disservice because these kids really do bring it and it is not contrived. Phil Longo, known more for his punk rock musical background than liking the "new in thing" said it best during their set:
"I get it. It's real, you know?"
In other words, not gimmicky.
I think it took them a couple songs to hit their stride, but once they did they delivered in admirable fashion. I think frontman John Paul Pitts' affable demeanor alone probably won over some of the skeptics that were inevitably in the crowd that night, but if it didn't I think their brand of reverb laden guitar hooks had to win over quite a few others. They're playing again at Backbooth February 16 with Turbo Fruits and Holiday Shores. If you missed them Tuesday, don't miss them this time because they won't be back for quite a while. The February 16 show will be their first show of a two month long North American tour.
Monotonix. Holy shit. This show was my first time seeing them. I've heard that they were "crazy" and "put on a good live show," but holy shit. These guys aren't just musicians, they are fucking performers. The fact that Backbooth was packed out with wall to wall people only served as a greater platform for them to blow my mind. During the first song, vocalist Ami Shalev did a stage dive, and crowd surfed from the stage all the way to the opposing wall of the venue and back. What the fuck? Who does that shit? Monotonix. Like Basements of Florida, they chose to set up amongst the crowd on the floor, which is intensified when you consider the crowd was already about 400 plus by this point. Guitarist Yonatan Gat ended up standing on the banister and playing there, as it was the only safe place not on stage that he could go. Shalev even managed to climb on to the balcony above the sound booth, and ultimately led a crowd of people out the front door, where he climbed a street sign (what the fuck?) and then dove into the crowd. I can only hope that I one day see another band perform like that (and not look like douchebags) because I doubt it will happen. I should also mention that the next night, Shalev injured his leg at a show in West Palm. They cancelled one show, but plan to continue touring. What the fuck?
I'm waiting for some more pictures, so if you have any please send them my way! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montonix photo credit: Norrel Blair. Surfer Blood photo credit: Christopher Keith Garcia (ckgphotography.com) Yip Yip photo credit: Christopher Keith Garcia. The Tenant photo credit: Bryne Yancey