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Times New Viking with Pony Pants and Shooting Spires - Danger Danger Gallery (Philadelphia, PA) - February 27, 2008

Times New Viking @ Bowery Ballroom 2/25/08
4 March 2008

Oh what a difference a few days makes. A few nights earlier, the Columbus, Ohio band TIMES NEW VIKING was opening for SUPER FURRY ANIMALS at Bowery Ballroom in New York. On this night, however, they played at a gallery just down the street from my home for about fifty people or so, at the most. From what I know about it, the gallery is affiliated with JOHN EMORY of Badmaster Records as well as the West Philly prog-punk band RED ROCKET, who I saw a few months ago with BLACK DICE and PISSED JEANS at a place called The Vacuum. Anyhow, it has two performance spaces, one of which is the gallery and one of which is the basement, a much less inviting space though I’ll get to that later.

Times New Viking played a very similar set to when I saw them a few months earlier opening for THE CLEAN at Cake Shop in New York. The difference this time, however, was that I’ve gotten a chance to spend some time with their latest album and Matador debut Rip It Off, so I actually recognized some of their tunes. Although the melodic sense of the new record shows a bit better on record, it’s hard to deny the sheer energy and ferocity of their 3-piece wall of noise, even if it was difficult to see them because there’s no stage and because they played completely in the dark. The sound wasn’t the greatest, but hopefully in time that will improve at this venue (a stage would also be nice as they were difficult to see). I don’t know how they would come off in a place like Bowery Ballroom (comparatively much larger and fancier), but somehow playing in divey places fits their brand of scuzzy, lo-fi noise rock.

Before Times New Viking, Philly local band and Badmaster recording artists PONY PANTS played in the basement, which with its long, narrow outline and low ceilings, felt quite stifling at times. Plus, the sound was really off, especially the vocals, though it did get a bit better later. Still, I could only watch about three or four songs of their set because it just wasn’t to my liking. I would describe them as a cross between funk-metal and electro-pop with a female singer, as if the members of LE TIGRE and oh I don’t know, FAITH NO MORE, formed a side project. On paper it sounds kind of cool, but in practice it just didn’t work, at least not for me.

When I came in, the Brooklyn band SHOOTING SPIRES was already playing in the gallery. Unlike Times New Viking’s set, they played with the lights on, which was nice. I didn’t like them that much at first, but they grew on me. Essentially a side project of BJ WARSHAW’s other band PARTS AND LABOR, the live lineup features a ridiculously talented drummer named JEFF O who also plays with THE NEW LOU REEDS). Nevertheless, I found it hard to place or describe their synth-led sound. Their Myspace page lists BRIAN ENO and SILVER APPLES, amongst others, as influences, and it’s hard to argue with that given their choice of instrumentation and the overall approach.

The photo above of Times New Viking was taken by Eric at their show several nights earlier at Bowery Ballroom in New York, where they opened for Super Furry Animals. It is used with permission.


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