9 hours ago
Saturday, May 31, 2008
God gave me very specific instructions. (Monday pt. 1)
The Mae Shi are a band I hadn't heard before last Monday. For most of the gigs I review on this blog, I have about six months of fanboy excitement brewing up inside me hyping it up. Not this time.
Technically I was there courtesy of Crayonsmith via their manager Dave via Bobby. But I don't think much of Crayonsmith. I might have mentioned that before, because they do support 70% of all bands. If not though, I'm putting it out there now, I don't like their music. Most of it is begging for melody, and the ones that have decent tunes at the core are generally pushing a bit towards 2005 NME territory. I wouldn't have bothered mentioning that I don't like them, except that they're physically impossible to avoid, either live or in Irish music writing. Even us Analogue boys having been covering them. But it's not for me.
Mae Shi were on second, behind Noah and the Whale, who I have no interest in whatsoever. I was asking stupid questions ("Are they post-rock or what?") and making stupid claims ("They look like I won't like them.") for the whole of their lengthy set-up. They opened with I Get Almost Everything, from the crowd. They spent lots and lots of their time in the crowd.
Most of their stuff was really good. "Twee hardcore" was the label State luminary and aforementioned guestlist fixer Bobby gave them. Not too far wrong. It was as if that sort of ultra-serious flavourless US punk-hardcore had been squirted with gunge or something. Run To Your Grave is one I remember as standing out, even though I didn't get the album until after (maybe "get" in inverted commas would be more appropriate).
For a record that seems to be some sort of concept album about biblical judgment, executed over glitchy keyboards, incredibly catchy singalong choruses and bursts of hardcore, it's surprisingly cohesive and excellent. HLLLYH, it's called. It's infused with a punk-like communalist vibe, except with all the accessibility of someone like Danielson.
They engulfed the whole crowd in a sheet at one point. Everyone was pushing it up, singing along even if they didn't know the words. The energy was thick enough to bottle and sell. And they were (technically) a support band. Basically, as their press stuff says, The Mae Shi want you to love life as much as they do. A nice thing to experience.
Photo from Fuchsia's Flickr, more there.