Live - Benzos, Inouk and Phoenix Blast NYC





Another night, another round of groups on the "it" list. Nepotism was in high order, too, with cousins in Benzos and brothers in Inouk comprising the frontmen for two of the bands. The crowd at Bowery was the usual pastiche of hipster bedhead and faux couture, plus a gastro-challenged Jon Landman dropping bombs of shock-n-awe stizz in his Gorton's Fisherman bright yellow off-shoresmen coat. Pass a king crab leg and take some Tums, mate. The Sister Soleil concert T you were sportin' that you got off ebay was classic, though. I digress. Back to bands. Benzos are a band slowly gaining placement on the totem poll of NYC music. Never too crowded, despite six guys on stage, they approach Radiohead on a few levels, although managing to steer clear of total derivation. Effortlessly building song after song, the "everybody chips in" approach was best felt on their closer, "Idol Magnet", the most guitar driven of their tracks with a riff reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Fearless". Make checks payable to Roger Waters and David Gilmour. Next on stage was ex-Philly-now-Brooklyn space stoners Inouk. Brothers Damon and Alexander McMahon are two quality front men, one has a high voice and one a raspy, almost Gomez timbre. Together they trade off lead vocals, making music that neither offends nor defines their audience. They just got back from their UK tour with Modest Mouse so they must be doing something right. Most of the songs were off their record No Danger and came to life in a better context live. Best part is brother Alexander's "Ben Wallace-meets-Yahoo Serious" style 'fro. Big ups, Alex. Last up was a real surprise, the band Phoenix in all the way from Paris. Part of the Sophia Coppola cheese-eating crowd along with Air, their first track was "Too Young" which was on Sophia's Lost In Translation soundtrack and is pretty much a sugar-soaked hit worthy of all the trimmings Maroon 5 have snaked the past few months. Funky when it has to be, rocky the rest, Phoenix should be on every girl's iPod so her boyfriend can get pissed at her for dreaming about frontman Thomas Mars. For there first time in the States, it seemed like they owned the joint even taking a two minute break, standing dead still mid-song, before continuing the jams "merci beaucoup" style. It gets predictable and assumptive going out in New York, the jaded veneer of "been there, done that, read the blog about it last week" abounds. It's great just to be surprised every now and then. And Landman, that's not what I had in mind.






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Live - Benzos, Inouk and Phoenix Blast NYC