Shoe Gazers Come Out to Hear Pere Ubu’s New Album in Brooklyn, New York
Williamsburg Honors One of Indie’s First
Sunday night is a one of the best nights to catch a show in New York City; it’s more laid back. This Sunday I got to see Pere Ubu at The Music Hall of Williamsburg. They played to a full house and did a lot of cuts from their new album 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo as well as some old favorites. Kristof Hahn, who is of the Swans, played steel guitar that night and also plays on the album adding the Pere Ubu touch that the folks came to hear. This album, as some of the tracks on their previous album Carnival of Souls features theremin, an instrument that has a sound is associated with 1950’s horror and science fiction B movie incidental music. The combination of steel guitar, synthesizer, and theremin really created a unique tableaux.
Pere Ubu was very energetic and ran the gamut of musical styles in the set they did Sunday night. Frontman David Thomas’ banter in between songs kept the audience laughing. Thomas can be very funny and you need a little levity after a heavy tune like “Cold Sweat” off their new album. I would love to hear someone do a sludge metal version of “Cold Sweat.”
The Music Hall of Williamsburg is a dimly lit huge space with a raised stage that was standing room only. It has at least three levels, the upper level wasn’t open that night but the nice lounge on the lower level was. The place was filled with shoe gazers, hipsters, and Generation Xers drinking in the dark.
Pere Ubu, to my delight, did one of their earliest singles, “Final Solution,” as part of their encore and which was a seminal recording that foreshadowed what was to come. It must have sounded very different to hear it in 1975, it was like nothing yet recorded. Ubu did “Red Eye Blues” and “Monkey Buziness,” also from 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo which are high energy tracks on the punk and jet rock & roll side. The band was awesome and they have been referred to as a small orchestra. The credits on the album include Keith Moliné and Gary Siperko on guitars. Robert Wheeler does analog synths, and theremin on the album and Gagarin does the digital synths. Michele Temple plays bass. The credits also list Steve Mehlman on drums/percussion and as I mentioned before Kristof Hahn on steel guitar.
Catch this tour: