Monday, July 9, 2012

Photos/Review: CBGB Festival Day Two (MxPx, Radio 4, Reggie Watts)

Reggie Watts @ The Bell House
CBGB Festival (Day Two) - July 6, 2012
Photos/Review: Geanna B. & Chris

Day Two of CBGB Festival had a lot of great options, but unfortunately our day jobs and inability to be in two places at once greatly limited what we were able to cover. Luckily, Geanna was game to check out pop-punk purveyors MxPx at Best Buy Theater, while I took a trip to The Bell House to catch one of comedian Reggie Watts' viciously unique sets. I'm happy to report that neither of us were stabbed throughout our excursions. Here's Geanna's account of the MxPx show:

Well, my ears are still ringing from Friday's MxPx show at Best Buy Theater for two reasons: 1. They totally rocked out, and 2. Because I might be getting old. Celebrating their 20th Anniversary as part of the CBGB Festival, this was one of the fest's shows that I absolutely had to see. Oh, Memory Lane, how often I visit thee. Who needs a DeLorean when nostalgia is just a subway ride away?

MxPx. Photo by Geanna
The first band to hit the stage was Gasoline Heart, a straight-up rock band with a pretty solid sound. Had their lead singer not been so self-deprecating while dejectedly stomping around on stage, their set would have been a lot more enjoyable. Next was the very awesome (and possibly underage?) Such Gold, a supersonic blend of Thursday and At the Drive-In that was a welcome wake up call to everyone on the floor. You absolutely must listen to this band, lest the Hammer of Thor strike you in the ears for ignoring their raw, driving tracks. And closing out the openers was I Am the Avalanche, whose Brooklyn-based punk ballads brought everyone to the brink of unbearable anticipation for the main event. When, Lord WHEN?! When's gonna be their time?!

The last time I saw MxPx was at The Birch Hill in high school, so seeing them at this brand new, swanky venue was definitely a bit odd. Without the moldy carpeting and scary parking lot, I felt a bit out of place with all those sparkly chandeliers looming overhead. And the bathrooms made me feel like I was in a spaceship. But as soon as the boys took the stage I was transported right back to that sweaty day in 1990-something. And it felt goooood.

The band gave us all of my faves - "I'm OK, You're OK," "Chick Magnet," and then closed the night with "Punk Rawk Show"!! There was crowd surfing and mosh-pitting and a very enjoyable cover of The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" thrown into the mix. We jumped around and sang, and I will never, ever get tired of acting like a teenager with a bunch of other people doing the exact same thing. We poured into midtown at the end of the night, screaming to hear ourselves over the buzzing in our brains, and navigating through lost tourists and pedi-cabs and day dreaming gals like me. Okay, maybe a DeLorean would be nice after all.

MxPx posing for a photo. Photo by Mariel Marrelli

Reggie Watts, who like many of the artists playing CBGB, was sort of an oddball pick for the festival because, well, I doubt he ever performed at the venue and he's much more a comedian than a musician. That is not to knock Watts' talent -- the man can fucking sing. Half of me was laughing at how silly his songs were, and the other half was laughing at how ridiculously good his voice is.

Watts, sporting a Bob Marley t-shirt with an image of Jimi Hendrix‘s face, would take brief breaks in between songs to quickly rattle off jokes to the crowd, often referring to CBGB Festival as the "Sibbajib Fest." His dialog is short so as to not take away from his true talent, which is looping layers of his voice to form strange, melodic and ridiculously funny sounding songs. Listen to his 2012 comedy album A Live At Central Park below to get a better idea of his live show, because explaining it doesn't do it justice.

Radio 4 @ The Bell House 7/6/12
Radio 4. Photo by Chris
The surprising thing about the Bell House show was opener Radio 4, a New York City-based dance-punk act that reminded of Gang of Four, Talking Heads, and somehow They Might Be Giants. How I hadn't stumbled upon this group before was a bit of a surprise, as they've apparently been around since 1999 and their sound is right up my alley. Give their most recent recording (released in 2006??) a listen below, and certainly keep an eye on their tour dates (even though I can't find any at the moment).

Below, check out some more photos of The Bell House show, and stay tuned for coverage of day three of CBGB Festival...


  1. I took a trip to The Bell House to catch one of comedian Reggie Watts' viciously unique sets. I'm happy to report that neither of us were stabbed throughout our excursions. Here's Geanna's account of the MxPx show..

  2. Great job on the blog, it looks great. I am going to save it and will make sure to visit weekly.