Concert Review: Harlem, Tulsa, Girlfriends, DJ Carbo @ Great Scott (4/25/10)

Artists: Harlem, Tulsa, Girfriends, DJ Carbo
Location: Great Scott, Allston, MA (not Austin, Texas as my French Professuer thought I said lol)
Date: Sunday, April 25, 2010

Act I: Girlfriends: For starters, they were a notable opening band, a treat I as a fairly common concertgoer am not always acustom to. The songs were modestly catchy, meaing they didn’t hit you a la Box Elders, but they had an inviting aura, which kept me paying attention and possibly will make me check out their music further, a rare feat for opening acts, for me at least. The guitartist displayed some sweet showmanship: playing guitar with his teeth and behind his back. As a whole they rocked out and delivered a rather energetic performance.

Glen: Girlfriends are pretty special. About two or three songs deep into their set, I became convinced that they are awesome. Their flavor of power-pop/garage rock/punk was simply catchy and fun. It was nice to see the guitarist/vocalist rock out and play with a kind of passion that seems to be lacking from most openers. If I was forced to compare them to some bands I’d go with Blue Album era Weezer and The Ponys. They have a shit ton of local and national dates booked up through August. If you like this kind of music, do some reading up, yo.

Act II: Tulsa – I don’t have much to say here. About two songs in, I was mentally through with them. I just couldn’t wait for the singer to say, “this is our last one tonight.” They’re talented musicians and all, but their songs don’t come through to me. It’s more of a case of individal parts, rather than a sum. It’s the sum that matters to my ears. That’s what makes a memorable band. In other words, they bored me.

Glen: Tulsa, guys. You had me going for a little while. A little while! It’s kind of hard to describe your sound; all I know is that I was feeling all fast-paced and shit until you came on. Buzzkill, kind of. Listening to you after the fact (aka right now on MySpace), I actually dig y’all. That said, your set was draggy and maybe you shouldn’t have played that extra fan request at the end. Just saying. Random pairing I guess?

Act III: Harlem: I can see why they named their album Hippies. Looking and behaving like mellow, “yeah dude,” hippies, really enthusiastic to put on a show. They must have taken giggle juice before the show, because they were lit up with laughter and smirks, snickering the entire performance. It was amusing as a crowd member. Their joy came through in their energetic, astonishingly fast (not of the Jay variety, but pretty damn quick) performance. Unfortunately this energy didn’t seap into the audience, whom were really boring fucks! I mean I was rocking out and pogoing and what have you, and a few others were too, but most just stood and stared. Alas, the trio didn’t seem as into the show as one may have hoped and their set was under 30 minutes, if I’m not mistaken. I appreciated their humor about the situation. They constantly amused themselves and the audience with their lighthearted demeanor. I really dug the way the members switched back and forth from drums to guitar, something I rarely see live unless it’s just for fun, which of course all of this is, but these dudes were playing some of their best material, not just random strummings lol. In mellow, hippie fashion, they asked each other on stage which songs they would play, without having a big Congressional hearing about it either. So, one could find humor in it, without getting impatient with the artists. I must say they have a great pop sensability and I hear a lot of the Kinks in their music. Maybe it’s just me… Most of their songs sound the same or very similar and I DO NOT mean that in mean manner lol. It’s a great sound and it works like a charm. If it was AC/DC’s sound I can only deal with that for a few tunes, but not Harlem, it works everytime for me. In other senses, their numbers are not all the “same,” but I really dig that big ass drum beat, the jangely, garagey guitars, and the poppy, sing along vocals. But, I digress… Anyway, they played many of my favorites from their recent LP: “Friendly Ghost,” “Be Your Baby,” “Gay Human Bones,” “Torture,” and others. FG and GHB were wise openers and closers, respectively. I wish they played other Hippies tracks like “Poolside” and “Pissed,” but what are you going to do? My other complaint was the length. I expected them to play wayyyy longer, oh well, if the crowd was more engaging than perhaps we would have seen/heard more jams. They came back for what I call a “reluctanct encore” and then goodnight.

Glen: So it’s pretty known. Hippies is currently the best long-player (out of about fifty) I’ve heard in the Year 2010 and that’s that. You probably know Harlem’s deal: they got a huge ass bass drum leftover from the Middle Ages AND Michael Coomers and Curtis O’Mara alternate between drums and guitar. That’s that. It was a pleasurable concert experience for me having them bang out ditties in Jay Reatard 25 minute fashion. I also noticed that most songs were way more sped up live than on record like the opener “Friendly Ghost.” “Beautiful and Very Smart” was touching, as was the encore “Caroline” — both of these off the band’s 2008 LP goodie Free Drugs;-)

Set Included (no particular order, save the first one):
1. “Friendly Ghost”
2. “Torture”
3. “Number One”
4. “Be Your Baby”
5. “Gay Human Bones”
6. “Tila And I”
7. “South of France”
8. “Caroline”
9. “Beautiful and Very Smart”
10. “Someday Soon”

Final Grade:
Chris: (B+)- I enjoyed myself and was stunned at how great Harlem sounded, but I just needed more! Overall, a good show.
Glen: (A-)  —–> A great show, but I wouldn’t say a top one.

Chris and Glen

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