July 13, 2008

That Was The Show That Was: Bottomless Pit, Kadane Brothers

Bottomless Pit
The Kadane Brothers, perhaps better known as principal members of sublime flagship slow-core act Bedhead and its successor The New Year, have written so many great songs but released records so infrequently that last night's performance was something of a constant surprise. Several songs into a quiet set during which Matt and Bubba Kadane played guitars and sang sans rhythm section the brothers reached deep back into its catalog to unearth the frankly sublime track "Crushing," released on Bedhead's 1994 stunning full-length debut WhatFunLifeWas. We had hoped against hope that the duo would perform the title track to 1996's The Dark Ages EP, but this treat definitely sufficed. Mssrs. Kadane and Kadane did open their set accompanied by journeyman guitarist Chris Brokaw on the track "The End's Not Near" [for which a video was recently released; watch it here]. The penultimate song of the set was "18," our favorite New Year track -- except for perhaps "Gasoline," which was also performed. The New Year will issue its third full-length, and first since 2004's The End Is Near, September 9. The set features drumming by Mr. Brokaw and bass courtesy of Saturnine's Mike Donofrio; a fellow named Peter Schmidt, whose name is not familiar to us, also plays guitar on the album. It appears the new set is self-titled; you can review the track listing at Touch And Go's web site right here.

Bottomless Pit's set, which sprung directly out of a well-choreographed musical segue that closed The Kadanes' set, was powerful. We hadn't seen the band fronters Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen perform since a Silkworm show in Philadelphia in 1995 or so. Mr. Cohen's guitar work floored us, and fortunately we were standing directly in front of him for the entire set as he let loose with tense, taut, slashing leads and flourishes with his Telecaster. More than anything else, the artfulness of the veteran musicians' performance impressed us -- the lion's share of the live bands we see each year are up-and-coming, and may never develop the poise and chops possessed by the chaps in Bottomless Pit. If they do, they are usually playing rooms that are so large that we can't enjoy the spectacle of their excellent playing. And while we certainly believe Bottomless Pit deserves to be playing arenas and theaters -- we were actually surprised when we realized last night's performance was in the 200-capacity Middle East Upstairs and not in the larger downstairs room -- we felt very grateful to be awash in the blare at a range of a half-dozen feet. The band played much, if not all of the excellent full-length Hammer Of The Gods, then delivered some of the goods from the recently issued Congress EP, and then thrilled the crowd with a new song during what was apparently a very rare encore.

Mr. Brokaw, whose guitar work has been a huge influence on our own playing (despite our relative ineptitude), opened the show last night with a set of his own tunes, including a mile-wide instrumental and a number of tracks from his recently released set Incredible Love. I And Ear Records, which you may recall issued Mazarin's excellent final record We're Already There, issued June 30 fat vinyl version of Incredible Love which you can purchase at his web site here. He also played guitar on the forthcoming Lemonheads record that is due this fall. Located at his web site, Brokaw's touring schedule reads like a Who's Who in indie rock: he'll tour with The New Year in the US in early October and in Europe in November; in August he'll be playing guitar alongside Matador [thanks Jon!] artist Jennifer O'Connor; and like everyone else in North America besides us he will be at All Tomorrow's Parties NY, playing with Thurston Moore.

Bottomless Pit and The Kadane Brothers continue their tour through the 19th of July, and we've posted the remaining dates below; the band's play Montreal tonight. We shot our usual battery of lackluster photos last night and you can check them out here. We stood next to Mr. 'Nac as he recorded the show, and we expect once he gets through his substantial backlog he will post recordings of the excellent show. In the meantime, here's an MP3 from Bottomless Pit's Congress EP, which has been released digitally by Comedy Minus One.

Bottomless Pit -- "Fish Eyes" -- Congress EP
[right click and save as]
[buy Bottomless Pit music from Comedy Minus One right here]

Bottomless Pit: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

The New Year: Internets | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

07.13 -- Divan Orange -- Montreal, Quebec
07.14 -- Sneaky Dee’s -- Toronto, Ontario
07.17 -- Schuba’s -- Chicago, Illinois
07.18 -- High Noon Saloon -- Madison, Wisconsin
07.19 -- 7th Street Entry -- Minneapolis, Minnesota


Justin Snow said...

I was at that show last night. I came in late because I was also checking out Tim Fite at TT's.

I agree about them playing Upstairs. That was really weird. Even weirder was the amount of people that showed up. It just made it that more personal, though.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the show was very similar to the previous night at Knitting Factory (though that room was packed). I believe Bottomless Pit might even have worn the same clothes!

The transition between bands and the reworked version of the unreleased song "Winterwind" at the end of the encore were highlights for me.

One small correction: Jennifer O'Connor is on Matador, not Merge.

Unknown said...

Ah yes -- sleep deprivation made me mix up my M labels. The guys joked about wearing the same clothes, saying because of the smoking ban they could get away with wearing outfits for a good long while.