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My Teenage Stride
July 6, 2007

Written by Eric Atienza
Photogrpahed by Amy Davidson

(Opposite Photo - Jenny Logan)

On the last date of a nation-wide tour Brooklyn based My Teenage Stride pulled no punches as they nearly blasted off the stage of the Lower East Side’s Cakeshop with its three supporting bands in tow.

Arbor Day was the evening’s first act, with a quasi-Belle and Sebastian, laid back, kind-of-singing-but-kind-of-not vocal style in front of 60s-pop, Beach Boys/Beatles-esque instrumentals. In other words, pleasantly fun and energetic, but tentative and musically appealing simply in the aw-shucks manner only very young bands can achieve.

In absolute contrast Boston’s Hands and Knees were musically messy, raw and visceral but a tacked on, out of place, intermittently shouts vocal overshadowed what was otherwise an inspired performance. Perhaps, had the Strokes, the Walkmen, and Conner Oberst never existed, the excessive, overbearing loudness of the vocals would at least seem original; lacking that it was just distracting.
The surprise of the night goes to A Sunny Day in Glasgow which joined the ranks of bands whose recorded work left me generally unmoved but who completely changed my opinion with a fantastic live performance. Fully polished and armed with an enormous sound, their guitar- and synth-driven pop nearly stole the show.

My Teenage Stride
Photographed by Amy Davidson

My Teenage Stride then took the stage and immediately showed why they need to be playing bigger venues: guitarist Jeff Ciprioni and bass player Jenny Logan were pure energy practically filling entire stage, even with the absence of guitarist Dakkan Abbe due to a broken wrist. One can only imagine the spark they would create given a bigger space to play, and with a full and healthy roster.
Throughout the opener “That Should Stand for Something” lead singer Jedediah Smith’s voice was rough and somewhat breathless but as the performance went on he warmed (and maybe sobered) up under the hot stage lights. By the time Abbe took the stage to share vocal duties on “Terror Bends” Smith had managed to hit his stride (pun possibly intended). The song was played hoarser, coarser and grittier than on their record setting a pace matched only by the tapping feet and clapping hands of the crowd. The song signaled a true shift into high gear as drummer Brett Whitmoyer kept up the tempo with an almost blistering intensity while the entire band nevertheless hit every single note. With a sly grin and a toss of their heads they shrugged off the cleanliness and control of the studio and played fast, tight and sweaty having almost as much fun playing as the crowd was having listening.

Jeff Ciprioni of My Teenage Stride
Photographed by Amy Davidson
Jedidiah Smith of My Teenage Stride
Photographed by Amy Davidson

Bobbing heads quickly turned to bouncing bodies and by the time the band let loose with “To Live and Die in an Airport Lounge” to close the set, and a couple pockets of oddly timed indie-rock dancing had broken out. The guitars rang out clearly as they swerved in and out between a dance-groove snare and a bass-line that never let up. As the last “Whoa whoa” faded neither band nor fans were ready to end the night. Cries for one more song quickly erupted (as they always do at the end of a good show) and the band happily obliged, catapulting into “Actors’ Colony” to round out an evening of music that started of shaky but shaped up into something simply stellar.

Jenny Logan
Photographed by Amy Davidson




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