Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Better Than: Any damn glam rock band you've ever heard up close and personal.
First things first: Last night Living Things played in the wrong place at the wrong time. Oh, don't get me wrong. I dig Culture Room. In fact, I've spent some of the best live nights of my life there. But it's the wrong venue for a band that hasn't yet completely broken, unless, perhaps, they're opening for someone who already has.
And in Living Things' case, even that would've been wrong. See, this band might sound like a lot of the greatest rock of the ages, but they are not your everyday rock band. They're stylish, they're smart, and in this era of instant smash, they're too damn good to be delegated second-tier touring band status.
Had Living Things come down and played say, a Wednesday at LIV, a Friday at the Mondrian, or a Saturday at White Room, they not only would've played in front of a cool thousand or so, they'd be leaving town with the kinda resound only an audience of the with-it can provide.
I'm talkin' 'bout chatter folks, the kinda fast talk hipsters are so fucking good at. And if there's one glam rock band in the land that is worthy of the chattering classes, it's Living Things.
From the opening salvo "Brass Knuckles" -- the very same brash track that kicks off their latest, Habeas Corpus -- Living Things thrashed it up as if the MC5 were waiting in the wings and they wanted to show those Motor City bad boys that St. Louie kids can roll just as loud and as fast.
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The band -- brothers Lillian, Eve and Bosh Berlin on voice, bass and drums; and best friend Cory Becker on guitar -- were a whirlwind of frenetic cool. Clad black but for Eve's smashing white dinner jacket, and exuding the shadowy allure which made them such adept Cavalli subjects, they came off like a study in rock star days of future past that'd come to full and living life.
I fumbled between my camera and awe through their second song, so I've no idea what it was. But I do know the Things' third strike was their unforgettable first hit single, "Bom Bom Bom." You know the tune, a war cry for militant pacifists all done up in strut and stomp. So you know that live it makes you do just that, whether you're the sort to lurk in the wings or stake your place stagefront.
"Oxygen" Habeas's second single, came next. Like a hyperventilator hooked-up to a respirator (or vice versa), the track both breathes new breath into the realm of hard rock and sucks the air right outta the room. It's one of the most refreshing aural pummelings I've had in quite some time.
Which is why I was almost taken aback when "Let it Rain" left me even more breathless. If you read my report in last week's Broward-Palm Beach New Times, then you know I consider the tune to be an idyllically idealistic power-pop rocker. Had you been there the hear it hit your face, you would've sworn it was one of the best pieces of power pop ever composed. Yeah, it was that good.
I shan't bore you with a track-by-track blow of the rest of Living Things set except to say that it kicked ass. And that, my friends, is just what it was supposed to do.
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Now, if only I could get the cats down to Miami.
Personal Bias: I went as a fan. But I left as a disciple.
Random Detail: Lillian sported the best pair of Cuban-heeled, kilt-topped, neo-Goth murder shoes I've ever seen.
By the Way: Eve's the one the UK press is screaming about when they mention Kate Moss cheating on the Kills' James Hince.