Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Morning Benders & We Are Scientists @ El Rey

I think El Rey has to be in my top 5 music venues. I just love that it's made for short people. Well, sort of. If you stand in the middle of the floor, there's always a chance that some ridiculously tall person will stand in front of you, but you always have the option to stand on the steps or on the raised platforms on the sides.

Blood Arm
I wonder why they chose this name. Is it because after listening to their music makes you want to rip your arm off? They started off sounding kind of typical. The singing style was a bit Hot Hot Heat and a bit Pixies, but nothing really unique that made them stand out. They were just imitating other bands and not doing a good job of even that. I have to admit the lead singer, Nathaniel Fregoso, was really energetic, but his dancing style seemed really strange. It looked like he had previously taken belly dancing lessons because he kept swinging his hips from side to side. It was a bit effeminate. Made me wonder if he was overcompensating to cover up the fact that he was a closet gay or if he was just a douchebag.
Ok, I love a guy who looks good in just a plain button shirt (makes it look like he put slightly more effort into his outfit than just throwing on a random t-shirt) like Chris Chu of The Morning Benders or Chris Cain (even though he had a Weird Al look going on with that hair and mustache. I know he's not a badlooking guy) of We Are Scientists that night, but Fregoso was wearing a button shirt so tight, he needed to wear a bro for those puppies AND he had his shirt practically unbuttoned down to his belly. :X W says he was just a douchebag because he was commenting on how pretty the girls were that night, kissing female hands, dancing with them, dedicating bad songs to them, and then pulling them onto the stage. And then he did a cover of a JayZ rap. It was sooooo bad. Before he started, I thought he might have had an interesting take on it, but no, he did a horrible cover and the singing was horrendous. I really can't remember much about their music that night besides the fact that they were bad at imitating their influences.

The Morning Benders
I was really skeptical when they came on stage. I was praying they wouldn't suck as bad as Blood Arm. We were sitting and people started crowding to the edge so we couldn't really see the stage. Then they started playing and it was surprisingly good. I heard a Brit accent in their Beatles inspired music. Even though you could hear the influence, they totally made it their own. It was really refreshing to hear something so simple and so good without having lyrics that are overly complicated lyrics or trite and cheesy. It was just perfectly mellow, catchy, summer music. Soon after, we got up to watch them and and I was shocked that they were mostly Asian. The lead singer, Chris Chu, is mixed and had a Beatles mop top (which is really difficult for Asians to pull off without looking like a total nerd, but somehow he made it look good); the drummer looked mixed (there's no way a full Asian could grow a beard that thick of a beard without being mixed, or Japanese); the bassist looked like he was in the math club (I don't know much about playing bass, but he looked like he was good at it. I just kind of didn't like that he looked like he didn't want to be there and didn't look excited at all during their entire set); and the guitarist, Joe Ferrell, was actually Caucasian, looking like he was part of the NY scene (white afro with a plaid shirt). I loved how into the music Chu and Ferrell were. I had to have their CD after the show. I was amazed at the quality I got for only $10. The artwork on the cover was amazing and the CD was genius. It was designed to look like a record. I loved the entire package. They could totally sell that CD for more than $10. I've been listening to their album nonstop since I bought it and it's fantastic. Almost every song on that album is great and catchy without being too loud. The Morning Benders are really catchy, but not as danceable as We Are Scientists.

We Are Scientists
Ok, I've always wanted to see them live and I've always thought their stuff was really catchy. I actually didn't get their tickets until about a few days before the show. I had forgotten about them until I saw them on VH1's Best Week Ever. Then I remembered they had a show coming up. I hadn't even listened to the new album in its entirety before I had gone to the show. I know, that's bad, but everything was so last minute. It was alright though because they played all the good songs off their new album with their old super catchy stuff sprinkled throughout. It was a fantastic show. They sound even better live. You could tell when they were playing their old songs and their new ones because the old songs were much more danceable and the new stuff was a bit more mellow and a bit 80s. It's still good, but definitely a departure from their dancey, poppy goodness. They're great live performers. They had this really witty, nerdy banter, which I guess was to be expected when their band is called We Are Scientists. They're one of the most intelligent bands I've ever seen live. Keith Murray's voice was so good live. And he interacted with the audience really well. I loved how he said thanks after almost every song. It was really cute. And he actually went into the crowd during one of the slower songs (he probably had to do it because it was the least danceable), which I thought was really cool. People were crowding around him and singing along. Unfortunately, he didn't get close enough to us, but he was only a few feet away. The show was fantastic and I think I made a new fan out of W. :)