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BNLX – Cake Shop (New York, NY) – Tuesday, May 12, 2015

25 May 2015

Photos by Mark Suppanz

These Minneapolis mashers scheduled this NYC opening set (for Swedish psych-rockers Les Big Byrd; both also played the previous night, at Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right) at the last minute, so I only found out about it earlier that day. But I’m glad I decided to drop everything and take a Tuesday train trek from NJ into the city to see them, not just because I knew they’d be such knockouts live. For as it happens, the quartet announced it would be their last show for awhile, due to bassist/singer Ashley Ackerson – wife of guitarist/singer and Susstones Records label head Ed Ackerson – being seven months pregnant. To make my journey even more worthwhile, they were selling über-limited CD pressings of their new second LP Good Light, mollifying us misanthropes who still enjoy purchasing those much-maligned metallic mementos.

Jim McGuinn, Ashley Ackerson, David Jarnstrom, Ed Ackerson

Not surprisingly given the quartet’s consistently high-quality output, the three new songs they trotted out from that album – the urgent “No Soul to Sell,” vivacious “Penny Drops,” and buzzing “Light it Up” – immediately impressed. Each one settled in seamlessly with the setlist’s six older originals, three apiece from 2013’s self-titled debut LP and 2014’s early EPs collection Produit Collecté (Collected Product). Of those, psych-inspired pounders like “Frogger (Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler)” and “Burn the Boats” profited from the pressing, prodigious paired guitars of Ackerson and Jim McGuinn, and drummer David Jarnstrom’s thunderous thwack. Meanwhile, poppier numbers like “Vibrant” and “Everything Must Go” highlighted the baby-begetting Ackersons’ mellifluous, melded harmonies.

Finally, Big Takeover bigwig Jack Rabid proved prophetic when he compared the band to The Jesus & Mary Chain in his review of Produit in issue 74, as they wrapped up their set with a boisterous, blasting cover of JAMC’s “Far Gone and Out,” from 1992’s Honey’s Dead. Perhaps Philadelphia won this week’s Twin Cities sweepstakes by hosting The Replacements three days earlier, but BNLX ensured that New York received a similarly raucous and riveting runner-up. (Alas, the lateness of the hour and the looming PATH ride back to Jersey forced this bridge-and-tunneler to forego the headliners.) ✪


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