Folks were just beginning to file downstairs at Cake Shop when the band launched into "C'mon," clearly ready to get on with their Friday night. It was totally a I-won't-do-what-you-tell-me Soft Pack thing to do. The LA band were finishing up a whirlwind tour promoting the release of their debut album, which included 10 shows the previous Saturday in their current hometown and had been going nonstop ever since. Only one show this day in NYC, but it was a late one -- doors at midnight -- as well as being all-ages and free. Me, I was in the bathroom line when they started but made it down front by the end of the the second song of their 13-number set.
The Soft Pack are a lot of fun to watch: Guitarist Matt McLoughlin has an intense, gnashed-teeth grin on his face the whole time; bassist David Lantzman (whose birthday it was) is all laid back California cool; and stand-up drummer Brian Hill keeps things barrelling along sans hi-hat. And singer Matt Lamkin ties it all together with that low key but we-mean-it-man attitude. We got most of the new album, a few choice cuts from their Muslims days and their almost unrecognizable cover of Phoenix's "Fences." They finish with the storming "Parasites" (the new album's only retread of old material) that makes the most of it's one chord. The song typifies the Soft Pack too. Maybe the parts aren't new, but they play them like they are.
SETLIST: C'Mon | Down On Loving | Answer to Yourself | Extinction | Bright Side | Right and Wrong | Tides of Time | Beside Myself | More or Less | Faith Man | Fences | Pull Out | Parasites
MP3: The Soft Pack - Pull Out (buy it!)
I think "Pull Out" may be my favorite song on the new album, rivalling "Parasites" for energy and snarl, sort of surf rock via New Zealand. The whole album is good and, apart from "Parasites" (which was just a single) it's all new material. That first EP never really got a proper release so they coulda just reused all those songs for this, which they didn't (and clearly didn't need to) do and you gotta give them credit for that. The Soft Pack will be back in NYC in April with Nodzz, The Beaters and Male Bonding, so don't miss 'em when they're play. Dates are after the jump.