An all New York City bill went down at DC’s Red Palace Saturday night. The Postelles were in town to celebrate the release of their debut album on +1 Records on Tuesday. With them were their buddies Ambassadors and a band that surprisingly they had never run into back home, the Dig. I wasn’t about to miss a Postelles show; not counting this gig, I’ve seen them three times, and they never disappoint. Saturday’s show in Washington was as good of an excuse as any for the band to party with what lead singer/guitarist Daniel Balk counts as one of his favorite cities to play in.
Ambassadors was the only act of the night I’d never seen live before. I try not to overuse the word “eclectic” in any of my writing, but I don’t know how else to describe this band’s music. Their song “Bodybag” could have easily fit in Fleet Foxes’ repetoire. In another song, lead singer Sam Harris was using a bow on his bass guitar: unusual, no? Their closing number sounded more MGMT. Lead guitarist Noah Feldshuh had a Nord in front of him, which seemed strange considering Harris’s brother Casey is their dedicated keyboardist. They have some good songs, but I think trying to focus on one general genre would probably serve them well, so they would have a better chance at hawking their debut album (to be released sometime in 2011) around to labels.
Having seen the Dig open for two great British bands (Editors and the Joy Formidable) last year, I knew I was in for a treat. Personally, I feel that the Dig should have a larger profile on the American music scene, already having released a very good debut album last year (Electric Toys, review here). Their hard rock yet fun sound is the kick in the pants that American rock stations need. In addition to playing “Two Sisters in Love,” “You’re Already Gone,” and “Look Inside,” the band also played some new material that I hope will be released on a new EP or album sometime in the very near future.
Then 11:30 rolled around and it was time for the main event. The Postelles’ debut album has 12 songs, yet they only played 8 of them, which was a little disappointing to me, since I love the entirety of The Postelles. “Sleep on the Dance Floor” was peerless, as were “1, 2, 3 Stop” and “Hey Little Sister,” the latter with Balk asking the crowd to sing along at the end on the “hey little sister!” refrain. I don’t know how it’s possible, but the band sound tighter each time I hear them play, and it’s been great seeing their progression from support to headliner. I can’t wait to see where these guys go.
My only complaint: maybe the band is bored of playing the songs off the album, because they played what I considered two completely non sequitur cover songs. In the middle of the set, they played the late ’70s Wreckless Eric hit “(I’d Go the) Whole Wide World,” a song by an English singer/songwriter than I’m sure very few patrons present had even heard of. This was later followed by a cover of the Rivieras‘ “California Sun,” which is a fun summer song for sure, but I never put surf pop and the Postelles in the same sentence, so it seemed a little out of place. Still, it was a really enjoyable show, and it was obvious that the crowd was enjoying it as well. Loud, drunk girls shouted as to how hot bassist John Speyer’s vest and drummer Billy Cadden‘s v-neck t-shirt were. Is this the kind of reception the Beatles got in their early days?
Oddly, the sets grew shorter as the night progressed, with the Postelles only playing about 35 minutes, including the encore. I found out after the show that this had to do with a curfew (rats) but I was promised by Balk that they would return. Whenever the Postelles do, they will have a fanatical crowd waiting for them, no doubt about it.
The Postelles Set List
Sleep on the Dance Floor
Hey Little Sister
(I’d Go the) Whole Wide World (Wreckless Eric cover)
1, 2, 3 Stop
Running Red Lights
California Sun (the Rivieras cover)
Can’t Stand Still
Boy’s Best Friend
Jun 15-16 – NXNE / Toronto
Jun 17 – Schubas / Chicago
Jun 18 – Summer Soulstice Music Festival / Milwaukee
Jun 20 – Tractor Tavern / Seattle
Jun 23 – Popscene @ Rickshaw Stop / San Francisco
Jun 28 – Echo / Los Angeles
Jul 07 – T.T. the Bear’s / Cambridge, MA
The Postelles: website | myspace | interview with | @ Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel | The Postelles Premiere First Promo Video, “White Night” | The Postelles Announce Fall North American Tour | @ Red Palace, February 2011 | The Postelles review
The Dig: myspace | @ 9:30 Club | The Joy Formidable / The Dig Live Performances / Webchat on May 10 | Thrice announce 2nd leg of Summer tour w/Kevin Devine, Bad Veins & The Dig | Electric Toys review