Thursday July 7 was the NYC debut of Mac Blackout's (Functional Blackouts) current project, Mickey. Mickey is a glam garage punk fusion which rejects current lo-fi techniques, and instead attempts to record tracks as cleanly and as rockingly as possible. I'd been a fan since the release of the 12-inch on FDH early last year. The poppy hooks, simple lyrics and desire to do nothing more glamorous than to get asses dancing was really appealing. It was n entire album of hair metal's older brother swaggering around banging your women and stealing your beer.
Since then it's been a long, long wait for them to come to New York. I'd hear tales of live shows in Chicago that essentially descend into chaos as Mac Blackout decides not to cooperate with the band, the audience or even the music. First band of the night were the three-piece post-punk jingle-jangle Sleepies. They were explosive with a screamy aesthetic, like a more punk Balkans. Check out “Backbone” “Carpultunia” and “Summer Bummer.” Second band was The Fucking Ocean, a bi-coastal band who hadn't played live in a year in a half. As one of their musicians John Nguyen lives here and Matt Swagler and Marcella Gries live in San Francisco, the time away from live performances is understandable. Last night though, they announced that John would be moving to the Bay Area, so hopefully we'll get some more output from this band. The Fucking Ocean does complex post punk melodies with all three members playing every instrument. It was my first time hearing them, so I wasn't able to discern if they had their own style on each instrument, as everything sounded like “The Fucking Ocean” rather than “The Fucking Ocean with John on Bass and Matt on Drums.”
Liquor Store was on next with their roving (though exceptionally polite) gang of fans who are there to party. It was the absolute best set I'd yet seen from the New Jersey band whose brand of Parking Lot Psych Rock pulls you right into the pit. The guitars are nice, the bass is aggressive, the drums propulsive and the accents thick. Every show feels like a house show. They have an album coming out in August and if they manage to capture half of what they had on stage, it will be a keeper.
Mickey was an absolute mess. I should have expected it given the reputation, but it was more of a train wreck than I had thought. The band was tight, even given Mac's insistence on doing the songs however he wanted with the backers trying desperately to catch up, something that caused a shouting match after “For You” when the drummer told him to knock it off and Mac shouted back “FUCK YOU” before throwing his beer all over the rhythm section. The antagonism didn't end with his own band. Seconds into set opener “Dance” he threw himself into the audience, shoving past people rubbing on them, bouncing into them. It was a theme which continued through the night as he head butted a sharply dressed woman (accidently, I believe), wrapped his microphone chord around the entire audience, and whipping this mic chord at people. As this is New York, the feelings were reciprocated: Mac was repeatedly pulled off the stage and grabbed by people in the audience. You hear stories of danger and unpredictability, but I never got that sense from Mac. I think that he was just trying to shake people out of a heat inspired malaise and get any sort of reaction from the crowd that mostly just stood there about six feet back from the stage.