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New York Cool - Music

Kings of Scene:
Abe Vigoda, Telepathe,
No Age at South Street Seaport
July 11, 2008

Written by Matt Boyd
Photographed by Amy Davidson

Opposite Photo: Shannon Funchess from !!!, playing with Telepathe

In reverse order, there were three bands on the bill of last Friday’s free River to River Festival Seaport show: No Age (L.A.); Telepathe (BK); and Abe Vigoda (L.A.). What these bands suffer from is a switchover from D.I.Y. to D.I.I. (from Do It Yourself to Do It Itself - to letting the instrument tech and the crowd’s ‘amped-to-be-here’ attitude do the job of starting the party the musician is supposed to do). It’s the result of the bands’ happily prolonged encounter not so much with a discerning audience as with a very pumped and receptive scene.

Abe Vigoda

Headlining duo No Age’s studio material hearkens to Sebadoh and early Folk Implosion with an MBV drone. Seen on stage, their speedy, stripped sound misses a singer. The crowd was demonstratively receptive. Pleased and loving it, in point of fact. Occasionally drummer Dean Spunt would announce the name of the next song, and I saw no reason to disbelieve him.


Telepathe’s recorded work is unmistakably indebted to The Slits and the Creatures. Telepathe’s work performed live is unfinished. They weren’t, strictly speaking, playing any instruments, but their white Macbook was pretty good for being so new. Sparsely arranged bass hits, however pleasing, will tend to tire a listener after a straight set of little else. Telepathe was accompanied onstage for a song by !!!’s Shannon Funchess, to little effect.

Of the three acts, opener Abe Vigoda most successfully realized their sound. On stage, their reggaetton-punctuated guitar textures, only slightly more overbearing than shimmering, represented the most articulated, polished, and interesting live performance of the night. They plied the crowd with their homebrewed guitar tone, nervous but quippy banter, and excitement to be out of the strictly hipster basement clubs in front of the young city with a high-tempo style absolutely their own.

No Age Abe Vigoda
No Age No Age



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