If you have the chance to arrive early to catch the band opening for Athlete on this tour (Carney), please do. I unfortunately only caught the last few songs of Carney's set last night at Bowery Ballroom, but the songs I did manage to be exposed to were absolutely sick. The lead singer's voice was dripping in gritty/sweaty/sexy goodness and their songs were so addictive you could have sworn that you've been listening to the band for years. I will be keeping a close eye on them.
Athlete took the stage to a packed out crowd that was geeking out over the gear the keyboardist was going to be rocking during set changes. Opening with a personal favorite of mine, "El Salvador" from their debut album, Vehicles and Animals, the band continued to take their loyal fans on a joyride through their catalog. I say this because I am a bad fan of Athlete's and had completely forgotten about their newest record Black Swan and feared that I would go the night without a single sing-a-long. However the band handled the setlist like the true artists they are with songs carefully chosen to best represent themselves to fans of new and old (and old but forgetful).
It's not too often that a band can get much crowd participation, but lead singer Joel Pott managed to charm the crowd into doing pretty much anything he asked. Never before have I felt the ground at Bowery Ballroom shake like it did last night. This was all thanks to Pott since he decided to recruit the audience to be his temporary rhythm section and the fans happily clapped and stomped away. We even sang their roadie, affectionately called Mittens, a happy birthday.
As someone who had not been exposed to their new material until last night, I can only hope that Black Swan sounds as good recorded as it did live. The selections from the album "Superhuman Touch", "Black Swan Song", "The Getaway" and their first encore song "Rubik's Cube" are an excellent indication that I won't be disappointed. The band ended the night with the ever popular "Wires", which I heard fans muttering the time signatures so that everyone around them knew when to come back in during the bridge. It was two great bands, a great venue, a great crowd and all around a great night of music.
You can check out all my photos on Flickr.
Set list and bottle rating after the jump!
Athlete @ Bowery Ballroom 6/2/2010
Black Swan Song
You've Got The Style