|New York City SEEN
|Show reviews of Lower Lot, Lazy Lane
and Hurry-Up Offense
|Commentary and photos by Jeff Rey, unless otherwise noted
All rights reserved
© Copyright 2003 NEON, blue door productions
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Lower Lot has just marked their first anniversary; yet sound as if they’ve been doing this stuff together for a much longer time. U.K. born lead vocalist/guitarist Will Tidey displayed a powerful voice at the Tribeca show I saw, leading the four-piece through a high energy set of roots-rock songs to a pumped-up crowd. Joined by guitarist Ryan Hodgson, drummer Jon Farb and with Billy Vassiliadis on bass, the guys of Lower Lot combined for a very solid show.
Lower Lot released a 3-song EP last year titled Something Really Fine and earlier this year, completed a four-song session with producer Joe Mattis (Emerson, Lake and Palmer). They’ve also appeared on several compilations, including the YM Magazine sampler. A new self-produced, self-titled full length has been recorded and is set to premier in January 2004. You can hear samples of Lower Lot’s music at their website.
With very spooky and strange songs and sometimes even spookier and stranger instrumentation, it seems most appropriate that Lazy Lane titled their premier album The ChiLLs. My introduction to the Pittsburgh band’s eerie world came by way of no less an authority than downtown promoter and former Goth grrrl Kerri Black who suggested I hang around to see Lazy Lane when they blew into town for a quick M.E.A.N.Y. Fest set at the CB Lounge. Once again, Kerri got it right. Lily Lane is a mesmerizing performer. The diminutive, but energetic singer and keyboardist led Lazy Lane through a set of minor key mythical musings and thundering epics that bring to mind the rich and textured preternatural tales of Anne Rice.
While bassist Aaron Richardson and percussionist Aaron Simmons laid down a pulsing and firm heart-beat of rhythm, guitarist Greg Bellato’s fretwork took the listener’s mind to strange vistas for a glimpse at otherworldly visions. Throughout, Lily Lane played storyteller and at times tortured soul, eventually thrashing about down on the killing floor of CB’s stage to exorcize her demons.
After the performance, I spoke briefly with Bellato who told me the band had come off their tour schedule to buzz into town for the appearance, but they unfortunately had no plans to return to New York in the immediate future – so it was just a small taste of a most interesting group. I suppose I should have, but I just wasn’t brave enough to approach Lily ‘cause frankly she gives me THE CHILLS!!
When I approached the stage at the Luna Lounge and saw a mop-topped guitarist, legs spread wide and with his axe slung way, way down low and then heard the pounding rhythms coming through the PA, at first I thought this must be Johnny Ramones' new band. I was wrong. No, this was the self-proclaimed NYC punk trio Hurry-Up Offense made up of Jason Brandt on vocals and guitar, Max Leavitt also providing vocals and bass along with Peter Light who ain't too light on them skins and sings as well. Of course, if I watched late night TV I probably would have recognized them from their multiple appearences as the house band on Last Call With Carson Daly. But that would have spoiled the surprise of seeing this hard-hitting band for the first time. Hurry-Up Offense showcased a few songs off their full-length albums, We Pick Up Where You Left Off and Donald Moore as well as tunes from their newer recording The Labor Day EP like "Punk Life" and "Think Out Loud." They may call themselves a punk band - and they certainly play punk - but their music also borders on power-pop and just plain good 'ole rock 'n' roll. Visit their website for samples.
|Max Leavitt (left) and Jason Brandt of Hurry-Up Offense.
Photo from www.hurryupoffense.com
| Lily Lane and Greg Bellato (above) of Lazy Lane. Right - Lily exorcizes her demons down on the killing floor.
|Above, Lower Lot's Ryan Hodgson. Below, Will Tidey and Billy Vassiliadis - a solid set of energetic roots rock at Tribeca.