The discovery of music happens in many ways these days. Download a sample, read about it on a website, hear it on a commercial or maybe it's press fancy boys getting you on a list. Last night was my introduction to the Benzos, an unsigned NYC band that has a buzz even Nat Hays and Jonny Kaps couldn't f*ck up. Banging around the East Village playing the upper crust clubs like Pianos and Rothko, Benzos took their Jeff Buckley-meets-Kid A-era Radiohead-meets-Aphex Twin sound to the much bigger Irving Plaza, albeit as warm up to Blonde Redhead. A sizable band on stage, they have six members ranging from guitars and bass to synthesizers and a dude on laptop who was either playing loops and samples or has a serious EverQuest nerd jones. Add to that a slight red flag going up when I saw the drummer wearing headphones. The inner-Neil Peart in all drummers gets the best of them sometimes.
The show kicks off. Seeing that they are a new band, hearing the songs was going to be the first time for me, and live would be a challenge. First song "You're Forever An Hourglass" was where they showcased what is their signature sound, tasteful arrangements, drum n' bass beats, and plenty of space for each member to not clutter up the songs. The swapping vocals of Michael Ortega and Christian Celaya, who I find out are cousins, was a bonus. The next few tunes were equally as good, the sold out crowd was receptive to "Mechanical Comrades" and "Sore Eyes". The last two song were probably their best, the Verve inspired riffage of "Ideal Magnet" and the closer, Buckley-approved "The Blue Around You", definitely put these guys in the top table among NYC chancers.
Along for the ride were +1 Music pimps Jonny "I'm not Matt Stone" Kaps and poseur Nat Hays, FreeWilliamsburg.com's Alexander Lawrence and Stuff Magazine's Samantha Judge.