Reggie Watts & Memory Tapes: One Wild Night

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I started the night off by catching a cool free comedy show in Williamsburg’s backroom stage called Cameo Gallery, who throw a weekly show called The Big Terrific Comedy Show, which this night was host’s Max Silvestri‘s 30th Birthday, and featured stand-up by Max himself as he lorded over his celebratory cupcakes, the wild Hannibal Buress, the totally hilarious Greg Johnson, and, in a last minute announcement, a mini-set by performance artist and extremely talented and experimental musician Reggie Watts, whom started off by sarcastically emoting a bunch of observational jokes, then set up his little sound box and played a couple great stream of consciousness songs. Still, that was just a warm up to the show just down the street at the wonderfully decorated former warehouse spot called Glasslands staring Memory Tapes and TEEN.

Reggie Watts, The Big Terrific Comedy Show, Max's 30th Birthday, Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn 2/6/13 TEEN at Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn 2/6/13 TEEN at Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn 2/6/13 Memory Tapes at Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn 2/6/13
Memory Tapes at Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn 2/6/13Memory Tapes at Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn 2/6/13

When I got to the Glasslands, the place was already jam-packed with a very enthusiastic audience, and Brooklyn’s TEEN was already playing their opening set. They originally came together when frontwoman and guitarist Teeny Lieberson (formerly of Here We Go Magic) began to make music with her sisters Katherine and Lizzie and their longtime friend Jane Herships. Some of the material being played was from the EP, Little Doods, from 2011, but much of it was the new stuff from their first full-length Limbo. The all-girl quartet produces a surprisingly full sound, as their songs have the feel of many the modern girl-group greats like the Vivian Girls’ noise pop, the synthy air of Telepathe, and the hard-rockin’ psychedelia of Warpaint, but Teeny also has an emerging confidence of greats like the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde and Blondie’s Deborah Harry. In the end, they produce a dreamy pop sound that occasionally breaks out into a punk growl, which proves a potent combination.

Still, the crowd was very clearly tightly packed into the inner expanse of the Glasslands for one guy, Jersey guitarist and vocalist Dayve Hawk, who is better known as Memory Tapes, who this night was assisted by an expert rhythm section forming a very tight power trio, and supporting his impressive album from last year, which he recently described, “I’ve always explained Memory Tapes as pop music as field recordings. I decided to showcase a kind of chaotic reaching. I don’t think the record is flat-out shooting in all directions though, because I kept trying to rein it in as much as I embraced it. That’s why I called it Grace/Confusion.” They also busted out some fresh tracks on an unsuspecting audience, who were all ready to dance the night away. Dance they did too, which they had much reason to, as the resulting sound was a bit evolved from the chillwave music scene he had once championed, as many of the songs came off as lengthy psycadellic jams that gave a lot of expansive time to groove in, being improvised at parts, strongly structured at other times, all with Hawk’s lengthy and agile guitar solos and impressive echoed angelic harmonies. The show was made even spacier by a cool light show, projected on the stage like a heavenly glow on the frilly clouds backdrop to the Glasslands stage. The show ended suddenly mid-groove, with no encore, but it still proved to be one of the strongest headlining gigs I’ve seen at this venue for quite some time, and one that had the audience literally jumping out of the skins with unbridled enthusiasm.

Memory Tapes Setlist:
1)Neighborhood Watch
2)Thru the Field
3)Green Knight
4)Stop Talking
5)Plain Material
6)Yes I Know
7)Sheila
8)Wait in the Dark
9)Bicycle