Converse City Carnage featuring The Kills
Black Bananas, Viva Viva
Sat, August 18, 2012
Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 6:00 pm
Hudson River Park's Pier 63
New York, NY
This event is all ages
Although this is a free show, you must have a physical ticket in order to enter the venue. Physical tickets can be ordered for free via Ticketmaster. 2 ticket limit per person.
Standing Room Only
Rain or Shine
There will also be a limited amount of physical tickets available at the following Converse retail stores as of July 13th at 12:000 PM EST. All tickets are subject to availability.
Converse SOHO 560 Broadway New York, NY 10012
Converse GARDEN STATE Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall 1 Garden State Plaza Paramus, NJ 07652 http://www.bowerypresents.com/event/134453/
The Kills formed in 2000 when a boy from Andover, England and a girl from Florida, USA met in a South London hotel. “It was like we’d lived parallel lives”, Jamie recalls. Both had been to art college, the boy had just left a punk-pop band called Scarfo and the girl wanted to leave a punk-pop band called Discount, and both were disillusioned with the musical scenes they were part of. “We had these bedrooms on different sides of the Atlantic which were full of artworks and films and music that we’d made for no-one to listen to. We had so many things in common. It was at a time that if you spent a lot of time making art and dressing up you got beaten down for being pretentious. Everything was about being down to earth. And we both just felt this relief when we met each other.”
Alison was so convinced that this was the creative partner she’d always been searching for that she decamped from Florida to Jamie’s flat in South London. Inspired by a mutual obsession with The Velvet Underground, ‘70s London and New York punk, they formed a duo called The Kills, rejected everything they’d begun to hate about being in a rock band, got themselves signed to Domino Records and made a spectacularly sexy garage-punk album called Keep On Your Mean Side in 2003. Buoyed by the deserved critical acclaim for this and their incendiary early live shows, but also nonplussed by the fact that they were, once again, in a proper band with a record deal, they made a completely different, yet equally spectacular second album in 2005 called No Wow. A minimalist pop masterpiece, it was one of those records that made some into Kills fans for life, but most utterly confused. “No Wow’s really special to me,” reckons a defiant Jamie. “I was listening to lots of Cabaret Voltaire and Suicide, and wanted to make something stripped-down, and was determined not to make another garage-rock record like the first album. We were trying to make a Suicide record. More like a commercial suicide record…”
So, in light of that, is Midnight Boom, which has some goddam catchy tunes and features the beat-making skills of SpankRock producer Alex Epton aka Armani XXXchange, a conscious attempt to make a more commercial record? “Absolutely not,” responds Jamie, with something approaching horror in his voice. “We were just enjoying ourselves. I know we’re seen as dark, brooding, twisted and semi-gothic - but we’ve never felt like that. Midnight Boom is more in keeping with what me and Alison were doing when we first met. More tongue-in-cheek and less conceptual. People do tell me that Midnight Boom is more accessible. But the way I was brought up in music, words like accessible and commercial are still insults to me. Ha!”
“We wanted to make something very different from No Wow and Keep On Your Mean Side. I’d always talked it up in interviews that I wanted to be really forward-thinking and dispense with all influences. So I was determined to do that on this record. We’d toured No Wow for 14 or 15 months, and started work on the new record in January 2006. At first we ended up with an albums-worth of folky acoustic songs. We might put that out in the future, but I knew this wasn‘t what I wanted for this record. What kicked us off in another direction was a film I found called “Pizza Pizza Daddio” which is a sixties documentary about kids in inner-city schools in America, observing all the songs that they were singing in the playground. We just started building rhythms around those and had this concept of coming up with modern-day playground songs. Cos they’re really quite dark. Cutting people’s thumbs off, kicking people in the face, throwing ‘em down stairs. I kinda liked it. So I got this old MPC-60 hip hop drum sequencer and just started making rhythms on that. And these playground songs ended up as Midnight Boom. “Cheap & Cheerful” was the first playground song we came up with and then it developed from there. “Alphabet Pony” is based around that, too.”
With the basics down, The Kills started recording in Los Angeles, but they were discouraged by their environment.The pair decamped to Key Club in Benton Harbour, Michigan, where they’d recorded No Wow. Alison and Jamie’s best friends run the studio and it’s there where the Midnight Boom title came from. “That moment when the moon comes up and everyone goes to bed… it almost seems like time doubles. You can get so much more work done and you feel that magic happens. We worked from midnight to ten in the morning and slept all day. That’s just how we like to do it. I get anxious during the day. I need to get lost in a record,” explained Alison.
After 2 months in the studio, writing and recording, and experimenting with the drum programming, Jamie felt he needed a “veteran of beats”. The Clipse and SpankRock had made 2 of their favourite records of that year, so their subsequent producers were called upon to assist with the sound The Kills were after. Tips on how to make the rhythms more violent and gritty were lent and the record began to take a solid form.
Midnight Boom is a reminder that no-one makes erotically-charged rock ‘n’ roll like The Kills, even though they have never been romantically linked. Perhaps people wouldn’t believe their platonic relationship because Kills songs seem to drip with themes of hedonistic sexual freedom. Or maybe not having sex is the secret to the perfect sensual-musical marriage. “We’re aware that that’s how it comes across,’ Jamie concedes. ‘We get so many comments about the live shows, about it being sexually tense and sexually charged. But, honestly… that just came out of nerves! When there’s two people onstage of different genders, and you’re scared to death and don’t want to look at the audience so you stare at each other instead, that’s just how it comes out.”
“We’re both quite shy and secretive,” agrees Alison. “Which is why we don’t need other people when we’re working. We’re just control freaks.”
The Kills have come a long way since dreaming about bringing romance and sex and glamour back to rock ‘n’ roll in a flat in South London.
After three albums under the name RTX, Jennifer Herrema and her bunch decided to flip the script, to kick open the doors of perception a little bit . See,RTX was not Royal Trux, not a metal band,not a 70's bar band and not a toxic substance; RTX was something, all of those things and none of them and way more, including Black Bananas bubbling in a witchy cauldron of their own herbaceousbrew. The tit le of a song on their RaTX album detailed a bit of the recipe, taking elements often tossed aside or thrown all the way out and combining them into something new and worthwhile...a new strain of the almighty green - to feed and elevate the hungry ones.
"I'm your garbage collector
I'll turn your trash to gold
What you cast off is what I hold,
End loafs of bread, black bananas and broken crackers
Scratched records, too dark pictures and torn jeans
All the shit that rips at the seams"
Black Bananas is set for the next all-inclusive rock and roll crusade, the one that includes even and especially all the shit you don't like, woven into all the shit you can't live without. This has been the name of Jennifer's game from day one; she owns the blueprints and if you don't know by now, don't even bother to Google it, cuz understanding is an investment not an action. Jennifer Herrema is not schizophrenic nor does she don many hats. She is simply a singer and simultaneously, a pioneer of comprehensive non-exclusive opposition rock, and Black Bananas is the latest addition to the oeuvre.
Brian Mckinley, Kurt Midness, Jaimo Welch , and Nadav Eisenman have been ripping and running with Jennifer since 2002, when one by one, they gathered serendipitously, borne by curiosity and the courage to be part of something new. Each passing RTX record saw them wrapped ever tighter in the burgeoning tongue of their own creation. Now, uttering their twisted slang fluently as a unified dialect, they emerge as Black Bananas.
If you wanna hedge (-fund) your bets its best to get out in front of this new natio nal currency they are creating with Black Bananas. These are the notes of the future; with Jennifer at the helm their worth will grow exponentially. Invest!
Black Bananas first album Rad Times Xpress IV runs the gamut from gnarly odes to reality TV in songs like "My House" to future electric metallic GoGo sounds all conceived with scraps of influence from Jennifer's childhood passions zig-zagged with other currents out there, creating a sound that will take you to a specific place that only Black Bananas know how to find.
Most of all, Black Bananas is the new band in town - and they're fucking righteous.
In 2005, when Dave Vicini (lead singer, formerly of The Lot Six) moved into an apartment in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, MA, with Chris Warren (singer/guitarist, formerly of Officer May), the friends already had an idea that they should be in a band together. Their previous bands had shared bills and even covered each other's songs. Before long, six Chuck Taylor boxes full of 4-tracks were recorded in their apartment. Then they decided they should find a band and make a record.
Viva Viva's reputation has grown steadily over the years, from those apartment recording sessions to the music hall-shaking, band they are today. Dan Burke (bass, formerly of The Lot Six), Fumika Kato (keyboard) and Dominic Mariano (drums), complete the sound that is causing a stir in the Boston music scene.
The Boston Phoenix Music Editor, Michael Marotta wrote, "the legend of Viva Viva has grown exponentially on the shoulders of explosive live performances" in his Fall Arts Preview article. Their unbridled energy can be heard on their debut self-titled album, out on Fort Port Recordings. "Basically we're the second greatest band in the world," says Vicini. "Yeah, second to the Rolling Stones circa '72," adds Warren. "We're not trying to re-invent the wheel, just keep it rolling," says Warren.
Hudson River Park's Pier 63
W. 23rd St & 11th Ave
New York, NY, 10011