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accidental live music review: the morning after girls, public assembly, 24 august 2011

Most of the time I am furious about several things out of my control in regards to living in New York City – sometimes the trains just don’t work, most of the time the weather is atrocious (like this weekend, there’s some hurricane set to destroy the world), and almost all the time I hate all the rude people on the subway.

However, there are little moments here, like when the train is waiting for you at the platform with open doors when you’re five minutes late on your commute to work or when you duck into some place to avoid the atrocious weather and happen to find the coolest whiskey bar you could ever dream of. Those things actually happen. Sometimes, things in New York City really work out.

This Wednesday night was one of those nights for me. I volunteer with an arts nonprofit called Art Start that leads fine arts workshops for at-risk youth. Last Wednesday we ended early so our workshop leaders could attend a benefit in my neighborhood. I was lucky enough to tag along, and when we got there I discovered that it was actually a fashion show and a concert I later learned was called Fashion & Flow.

Anyway, the last band that took the stage was markedly different from the three previous bands and DJs. They had a much louder set, they were really comfortable playing with each other and had the kind of psychedelic, shoegaze feel that reminded me of many of the Australian bands I’ve been introduced to through writing for Lip. The people I was with didn’t quite get the whole vibe, but after the show I went up and talked to the two lead singers briefly, who informed me that the band was indeed Australian. Their name is The Morning After Girls (though ironically there were no females in the band). I am unsure of their reaction to my Tame Impala reference, but I was sitting in the bar thinking what a small world it was that all of these different parts of my world had come together in this one night.

The next day I found their discography on Grooveshark and began listening. The clear variation of genres and stylistic choices on The Morning After Girls kept me interested. You have the softer side of shoegaze with “Lazy Greys” and “Interlude”, melodic rock on “Chasing Us Under” and hard psychedelia on “Fireworks” and “Hi Skies”. Throughout giving the album a few solid listen-throughs, I heard influences as varied as Tame Impala to late Beatles, The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to the harder Rolling Stones.

In retrospect, I realized that the live show I had seen the night before was absolutely ill-fitted for the type of sound the band was producing. The bar, Williamsburg’s own Public Assembly, was far too small for the searing guitar riffs and distorted production techniques. Judging from the reception the band got from the crowd here, The Morning After Girls will probably soon be performing on a larger stage to wildly adoring fans.

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