Lauren Bilanko Frankie Rose's single "Know Me," from her new album…
- Posted on Oct 30th 2010 7:06AM by Kenneth Partridge
"For your birthday, I broke your amp," keyboardist Kyle Forester told Townshend, midway through a short eight-song set.
Forester was kidding about the amp, but not the birthday. As Friday night turned to Saturday morning, Townshend officially became another year older. If he was happy about that fact, he kept it to himself, and even after he fixed whatever sound problems had marred the first few tunes and the Stilts were more or less able to get on the music, he betrayed little emotion.
Not that anyone wants to see the Stilts smiling. The musicians aren't exactly aloof -- Forester, wearing a skeleton T-shirt for Halloween, cracked jokes throughout the show -- but they benefit from holding back, maintaining some distance from their audience. The Brooklyn quintet's lust for reverb, metronomic beats and fast, scratchy guitars positions its music somewhere between Monkees pop -- referenced, bleakly and obliquely, on opener 'Sycamore Tree' -- and post-punk gloom.
Both the '60s and '80s informed Friday highlights 'Magnetic Moon' and 'Shake the Shackles,' flipsides of the group's latest 7" single. The tunes are among the best the Stilts have released, and on the latter, singer Brad Hargett sang something along the lines of, "Fly me to the future/bind me to the past/try to shake the shackles..." They shook 'em, all right, Andy Adler laying a prowling bassline over drummer Keegan Cooke's downright perky beat.
During the encore, fans affectionately pelted the band with plastic cups, and one rather large man stage dove into a pack of no more than four or five fellow knuckleheads. His comrades caught him and passed him off on a few other unsuspecting people, knocking their beers out of their hands.
For as sticky as the Stilts left the floor, the Rock Shop probably got off easy. What if there'd been birthday cake?