New Politics at Bottom Lounge, 02.06.14
w/ Magic Man and Sleeper Agent
Well, I'd have to say that live music is off to a good start for me this year; this first show did not disappoint!
Bought tickets to see New Politics on their Harlem USA Tour back in November for a couple of reasons: 1. I've loved their song "Harlem" ever since I first heard it last summer, thanks to my soon-to-be brother-in-law, and 2. He and my sister were planning on coming out to Chicago for a full weekend visit, so it was perfect timing. The long wait gave me enough time to listen to their full album, A Bad Girl in Harlem, and fall in love with a number of their songs. (Let's just say, "Berlin" wins.) And you know how I love Bottom Lounge, so I was excited to show them that venue. Per usu, Bottom Lounge was pretty packed before the show and while we didn't have enough time to eat, we did grab a couple beers and some fries. Dinner of champions.
Before I start talking about the concert. Reasons why New Politics is awesome ::
- They are 2/3 from Copenhagen, Denmark [David, vocals and Søren, vocals/guitar], 1/3 from Brooklyn, USA [Louis Vecchio, drums].
- After signing with RCA, the band re-located and now the guys live in a loft in Williamsburg, NYC. Can I move in, please?
- They toured with Fall Out Boy, Pink, and Panic! At The Disco in 2013. And will be touring again will Fall Out Boy and Paramore this summer on the Momentour.
- They don't seem to give a fuck about what the haters think. They're doing what they love, and becoming really successful really fast.
The first album, New Politics (2010), was met with some criticism, mostly for being too similar to other 90s alt rock bands. On the other hand, A Bad Girl in Harlem (2013), got mixed reviews for now being too pop-rock and "polished" (aka over-produced). You know what they say - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I do agree with the fact that there are some bands out there now who sound too similar, who notice that their contemporaries are doing something trendy and so they follow suit; and for that lack of uniqueness, I don't really care for them. But every artist has been influenced by someone who came before him, and I don't think there's anything wrong with sounding like you have influences. I don't mind the fact that album #1 is similar in sound to Weezer, or the Beastie Boys, or The Pixies. Those bands rock. In my opinion, New Politics sound like they have been influenced, but aren't trying to duplicate. The band has honed its style and sound to be different enough, yet still relevant; and at least to me, they don't come across as a 90's-wannabe-band. I actually prefer their more "pop-rock" album - it's easier to listen to, and better to dance to.
Anyway - back to the show.
Didn't get to catch Sleeper Agent on stage, but we heard Magic Man play their set. They were pretty good, the crowd seemed to be into them. Not exactly my cup of tea, I don't know why..maybe because they reminded me too much of so many other bands out there now (see my little rant above). Like Passion Pit, or Neon Trees, or some other indie band that uses the same type of keyboard-synth sounding stuff. Not the greatest, but they are from Boston, so I give them props for that. ;-) Check out their big hit, "Paris" and decide for yo'self!
By the time New Politics came out, we were a couple of beers deep, and therefore not terribly annoyed that we were (of course) standing behind some tall dudes. Everyone was pumped up, and the band opened with "Give Me Hope" and "Dignity". Off of album #1, "Dignity" is a cool mix of singing-rapping by David Boyd and hands-in-the-air rock anthem, sung by Søren Hansen - the blonde-hair with brown-eyebrows, very Danish-looking/awesome guitarist. I actually really enjoy his voice - it is a bit Franz Ferdinand / Brandon Flowers-esque. So I like it. And he does get to sing the best parts of "Harlem" and "Berlin", in my opinion.
Anyway, songs to follow included "Just Like Me", "We Are The Radio" (another rap-esque song off their first album), and "Fall Into These Arms" with a nice ukulele accompaniment by Søren. There was a nice acoustic version of song "My Love" [with more Søren vocals] thrown in there too. Then somewhere after that and "Overcome", the guys brilliantly transitioned into a cover of "My Love" by Justin Timberlake. It was truly a great move - everyone loved it, even the dudes who probably pretend they don't listen to JT. (To which I say, "impossible". There's no one who doesn't enjoy a little JT now and then.) You're probably dying to hear that cover, so here's a little clip that I found on YouTube for ya. Enjoy.
OK, so what else makes this band awesome, besides the fact that they can cover awesome JT songs? David Boyd can breakdance like a mofo! Once I saw his legs go up kicking and spinning, above all the heads and hands in the air, I knew that these guys were going to deliver a high-energy, dance-all-night-while-rocking-out kind of show. Also, he's known to do backflips off of walls on stage. In our case, he did a backflip off of the drummer's little elevated stage. Still counts. And oh yeah, both he and Søren did some crowd surfing. Which was awesome. David even made it a number of "rows" into the crowd, and then stood up, holding on to the ceiling for support. While also singing "Fall Into These Arms". [And then he "fell into their arms". Ha] He's pretty badass. Andd, it was his birthday so a cake with candles was brought out on stage at one point. Wonder what he wished for..
And if you think the setlist sounds a little light at this point, don't worry, the guys played more :: "Give Me Hope", "Stuck On You" [cell phone flashlights ON], "Harlem", of course, and my favorite "Berlin". I'm not positive, but I think they also might have played "Die Together" at some point. Their encore songs included "Goodbye Copenhagen", their next big hit, "Tonight You're Perfect", and crowd-favorite, "Yeah Yeah Yeah".
Phew. Did I cover them all? Probably missed something. But you get the picture. They were awesome, played basically all of their songs (meaning the entire album is great, which is pretty rare nowadays), and guess what, I'm going to see them again in June, when they play a show in CT as part of the Momentour with Paramore and Fall Out Boy.
Se dig senere, New Politics!!
Think: 21 Pilots + All American Rejects + a little Beastie Boys
Tweet: @NewPolitics, @SorenPolitics, @Me_Is_Boyd, @LouisVecchio
Instagram: @newpoliticsrock , @me_is_boyd , @loupolitics , @sorenpolitics