When I saw this triple-bill announced via Bowery Presents RSS feed, my initial thought was "hey, this is just like those 'Brats' tours NME puts on in the UK." And wouldn't you know it, the UK music mag is actually behind this. It's a good idea that has taken surprisingly long to come to these shores: put three up-and-comers together for one big roadshow. One of whom I genuinely love, another of which I genuinely like, and the third... well color me curious.
We'll start backwards from how NME is presenting the lineup. Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity know I'm a huge fan of The Soft Pack ("formerly The Muslims," how many times will I have to write that?). I never got around to writing up their show at Union Pool on January 17, mainly because it turned into a giant, insane, drunken dance party (it was my birthday weekend) that took me three days to recover from. But it was easily the best show I'd seen them play (and I've seen them a lot) and I think they're ready for that next step. And it immediately me think the name-change is a non-issue. They played three new songs, all of which were really good. They're also reissuing their debut (my #6 of 2008) with thee extra songs, fleshing it out to proper album length. They're definitely the odd men out on this tour, as the other two are from the UK, slicker, more dance-y.
Co-headliners Friendly Fires are quite good too, and have taken cues from Soulwax, Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem as to the proper way to perform dance music in a live setting. (Seen 'em a couple times.) In their case, it involves two drum kits, plenty of agogo, awesomely spazzy dancing, and a dustbuster. Though there was too much previously-released material for it to make any of my 2008 Best-of lists, their self-titled debut is really, really good, and it's hard to argue with tracks like "Paris," "On Board" and their fantastic new single "Skeleton Boy":
MP3: Friendly Fires - Skeleton Boy (Buy it)
As for White Lies, they are one of the hottest new bands in the UK right now, and as you can probably guess what they sound like just looking at this picture of them. Gothy club music, which as someone who owns his share of Sisters of Mercy records, is not necessarily a bad thing. More specifically they lie somewhere between Editors and The Killers which is not a place I'm exactly comfortable with... at least not in public. (They are better than The Whip who might also fit that description.) "To Lose My Life" is one of those guilty pleasure songs for me, one that you hear the first time and roll your eyes, but you would probably crank in my car if I had one. I will hold judgement till I see them.
The NME tour hits most major North American cities, including two nights at Bowery Ballroom, tickets are on sale now. Tour dates...
March 24 Washington, DC, Black Cat
March 25 Philadelphia, PA, First Unitarian Church
March 26 NYC, Bowery Ballroom
March 27 NYC, Bowery Ballroom
March 28 Boston, MA, Paradise Rock Club
March 30 Montreal, QUE, Les Saints
March 31 Toronto, ONT, Lee's Palace
April 01 Ann Arbor, MI, Blind Pig
April 02 Indianapolis, IN, Radio Radio
April 03 Chicago, IL, Double Door
April 04 Minneapolis, MN, Triple Rock Social Club
April 07 Seattle, WA, Neumo's
April 08 Vancouver, BC, Richard's on Richards
April 09 Portland, OR, Doug Fir Lounge
April 11 San Francisco, CA, Slims
Some videos after the jump....