Dirty Beaches @ Glasslands, Williamsburg 5/13/11
Some more photos from the show that brought newly tagged Band To Watch Beige onto our listening docket here, by way of photographer Natasha Ryan, who captured headliner Alex Zhang Hungtai aka Dirty Beaches both onstage and in outdoor portrait last Friday. The night before, Hungtai performed a set at Mercury Lounge in his typical setup, solo and set to backing tracks from his recommended LP Badlands. The songs look to greaser rockabilly and David Lynch soundtracks, evoking punk ala Lux Interior and Alan Vega; onstage Alex plays his Elvis after a stop at the tattoo parlor part well, slung with guitar, brooding like Brando or going live wire with his vocals like Lee Lewis. On this night he’d be joined for the first time with a backing band in the form of Philadelphia’s Lantern, which he said Vice Mag had called “the best band in Philadelphia” (he upgraded it to “the world”). It was a proper pairing, in that all involved were interested in throbbing garage rock and jumping into the crowd. They played music they collaborated to write the day before. If it was messy, it was true to the spirit of their chemistry, which felt infectious, slapdash, sweaty, and a little dangerous. Still, the night was made when Dirty Beaches heeded crowd calls for his solo takes on “Sweet 17″ and other album tracks. Being a loner suits him.