Chavez @ Bowery Ballroom - May 18, 2012
Photos: Chris / Review: Damien
Let me start this off with the only complaint of the night, one I vary rarely have about any show I see in NYC: it was waaaaaaaaay too easy to get in to see Chavez on Friday night.
I personally picked my ticket up the night before, having remembered that these post-hardcore / math rock badasses were resurfacing to rock an inevitably great hometown set. My FN friends who had seen them last year at ATP NJ, in turn, were able to snag theirs easily the day of the show.
A concert featuring Chavez - masters of titanic rock since 1993 who have until recently been as easy to see live as a unicorn wearing a leprechaun mask - should have sold out WEEKS ago. But as you can tell, I was damn happy to get in.
We were among the maybe seven people in front of Bowery's stage shortly before the openers Endless Boogie were set to come on, and we wound up chilling in the downstairs lounge well into their set. I'd never seen them but ended up not missing much, judging by the brief (er, long) bits I heard coupled with the general consensus that they sucked. Eternally jammy blues-rock was likely not what I was in the mood for while waiting for the wall-of-sound blunt hard rock Chavez was getting set to deliver.
And hell yes did they deliver. Frontman Matt Sweeney and his cohorts may have a criminally limited discography together, but they're beyond adept at bringing fan favorites off of Gone Glimmering and Ride The Fader to life onstage in earthquaking fashion. After kicking off the set with "Nailed To The Blank Spot" from their debut, Chavez next launched into the prehistoric guitar knashing and thunderous drumming that comprises Fader's closer, "You Must Be Stopped."
The night was packed with electric moments that underscore how underappreciated Chavez is, ranging from the soaring alarm-like guitar wail during the chorus of "Laugh Track" to the triumphant balls-to-the-wall chaos of "Our Boys Will Shine Tonight" driven by drummer James Lo. Hell, they even busted out an untitled new jam that may end up on their long-awaited new album - you can watch a video of that below.
Chavez gave all of their fans in the building - who had quickly packed the place just before Sweeney took the stage - just about everything they could want in a rock show, and hopefully got a few more of the uninitiated interested in coming along for the ride. I'd have loved to finally hear "The Guard Attacks," but all the more reason to see 'em again as soon as possible.
Check out Chris' excellent shots of the show below, along with a clip of that new untitled song courtesy of our old friend Citybug. The only other dates you'll be able to catch them in the near future are at ATP in London this Saturday, Primavera Sound in Barcelona next month, and Pitchfork Festival in Chicago later this summer. Cross your fingers for another hometown show this year!