On My Radar: The Shondes & JIVE GRAVE
I’ve been in hiding to focus on my projects, but breaks from hermit-hood are necessary to maintain my sanity. I was only out of the country for a month, but thanks to the rapid cycle of growth and death in NYC, I already have a list of new bands, venues, and restaurants to check out.
Last Thursday (10/28) I went to my Â first show since returning from my 30-day shoot in Paris. My BFF invited me to join her on her trek to Bushwick — my old hood — and we ended up at House of Yes for JIVE GRAVE‘s BLACKONE EP release party.
When I exited the train at the Grand L stop, I expected to be overwhelmed by art school kids, but instead found myself surrounded by local families. I enjoyed the site of them carrying armfuls of groceries, teens texting each other on the corner, and dads with their sons returning from karate class. I basked in the warm bustle of early evening street life. As nostalgia momentarily washed over me, my thoughts drifted back to my two years spent in the rapidly gentrifying nabe. It was a time of my life that I’ll always look back on with a mix of fondness and sadness. After being in NYC since 2004, and despite so many youthful distractions, Bushwick was the first place I ever “felt” like an adult.
We arrived at House of Yes pretty late, but the first band hadn’t even finished their soundcheck yet so we had plenty of time. When they finally did go on I wasn’t a fan (frustratingly off-key lead singer), but immediately fell in love with the second band, The Shondes:
Out of nowhere (haven’t thought about those days in years), this band transported me to Ladyfest Bay Area 2002, and all the times I would drive to SF to catch shows by riot grrrl-inspired bands like Le Tigre and Bratmobile. I felt like if I flipped through my old CD case I would find their sleeve in between The Need and The Gossip.
I brought my 7D to the show out of habit, not intending to use it. I didn’t even bring my audio adapter or external mic, but felt like if something went down that pulled my camera to my eyes, I would let it happen.
I haven’t uploaded any photos yet but had to share this quick clip of JIVE GRAVE’s set. Each band member wore the same creepy Eyes Wide Shut-like mask, complete with painted eyebrows. The trembling symbols and matching faces onstage made me feel like I was about to witness a secret ritual reserved for hidden rooms on Ivy league campuses. Geo Wyeth may look like Wolverine’s little brother (in a good way), but his heartbreakingly dark (and uplifting lyrics) reveal a tender side and flare for showmanship:
Geo prefaced one of the songs by announcing “This next one is about colonialism. We all know what that means, right? We all went to college?” What followed were some jams that made me want to simultaneously take notes and pogo. Geo’s voice is nasally, addictive, and his inflections kind of echo around my ears and provide a playful contrast to the artfully arranged melodies.
…I had a closing paragraph here about the connection between my camera, music, Paris, and my identity in NYC, but Dreamhost service crashed in the middle and I don’t feel like retyping. BUT! I will say that I am in the middle of a significant transition in my life and am starting my “dream job” next week.
As a result of all this change, I am going to be open to the idea of creating a personal vlog in December to document what’s to come. Yes, you may see me rambling in front of a camera on a regular basis. Self-indulgent? Yes, fo sho. But I am for anything that helps me to thrive and inspires creativity.