I can never put my finger on what "it" is, but one thing is for sure -- New Young Pony Club have it. Not since seeing Franz Ferdinand at Pianos three years ago have I had a such a strong feeling of seeing a band that you just knew were going to be big.
There were a hell of a lot more people there to see New Young Pony Club at Williamsburg White Room, a large art space in the basement of a new apartment building ion the corner of South 3rd and Roebling. In this era of blogs and Soulseek, everyone has the same access to information, and I'm guessing three or four hundred people were there to see them. How many in the crowd had actually heard them before I don't know, but I have no doubt they made a lot of fans tonight.
From the catchy-as-hell, extremely danceable songs, to the tight musicianship, to the effortless charisma of spitfire singer Tahita Bulmer, New Young Pony Club just had their shit together. It was like they were born fully formed, ready for the big time, and I mean that in the best possible way.
I realize I'm hyperbolizing with every sentence, but they seriously knocked me out. Everyone was smiling watching them, and you could tell they were having fun too, and not worried about looking cool. (It goes without saying that they did look cool.) Bulmer said her voice was shot -- maybe the spot-on harmonies from the rest of the band covered it up -- but she sounded great to me.
Musically, there were some post punk elements there, but not really the ones that have been used over-and-over again in the last three years. This was more Slits or Pigbag or Bow Wow Wow (Bulmer was rocking a Anabella Lwin one-side-shaved hairdo) or the Bodysnatchers. Some Blondie in there too.
If there was one thing that was tired, it was the old adage that New Yorkers are too cool to dance -- Bulmer spent a lot of her between-song time trying to get everyone to shake it. "Come on New York...you can do better than that!" Everyone in front of me was dancing, at least. Her frazzled pipes cut the set short at maybe six songs, but not before finishing with an extended version of their first single, "The Get Go," that had a great breakdown with just the "ah ah ahs" -- and when they brought it back up everyone was moving. I have a feeling NYPC skip straight to Bowery Ballroom for their next show. Wherever it ends up, I'll be there.
If only the whole night had been as good. Local electronic trio Thieves Like Us opened and I was hoping they'd be decent, as they showed enough good taste to take their name from one of my favorite New Order songs. But, how should I put this... they sucked hard. Maybe they couldn't hear themselves (there seemed to be PA problems) but it just never jelled; in particular the David Spade lookalike on syn-pad drums just made a mess of things. It sounded like a whole band of Ross Gellars. Few applauded. Painful.
Photo swiped from Punkphoto.com.