Lucid Culture


Concert Review: The Disclaimers at Spikehill, Brooklyn NY 7/19/08

Arguably their best show. About three years ago, the Disclaimers were one of the half-dozen or so of the best rock bands in New York. Then their bass player quit, and the group went more or less dormant. They’re back, with a vengeance, and better than ever, triumphantly reclaiming their place in the A-list. Although everyone in this wildly energetic six-piece garage/soul unit sings, they really it took to to the next level when they plundered frontwoman Kate Thomason from Half Ajar. A powerful, soul-inflected singer with a raw, wounded edge in her voice and an effortlessly sultry stage presence, she adds as as much intensity as subtlety to the group, especially when they have their four-part harmonies going. 


Singer Naa Koshie Mills (who also plays in Maynard & the Musties) alternated between violin, trombone and keyboards, and ex-Lofos bassist Andy Nelson gave the low end plenty of dirty grit. They opened with the wickedly catchy garage rocker Pout, sung by keyboardist/guitarist Dan Sullivan, sounding like one of the warmer, more enticing numbers on Radio Birdman’s first album. Their best song of the night, a powerfully crescendoing anthem perhaps titled Beneath the Belly of the 7 Train was driven by Sullivan’s horror-movie organ work matched by Mills’ shrieks and swells on an old analog synth from the 70s. Other highlights of the set included an upbeat new garage number featuring Sullivan playing a sizzling Telecaster solo through what sounded like a Leslie speaker for an eerie, watery effect, and another new number, a 6/8 soul ballad featuring a somewhat bizarre doo-wop break in the middle that saw Strat player/singer Dylan Keeler rolling his eyes, as if to say, I can’t believe we’re all doing this, but it’s fun. Unsurprisingly, Thomason stole the show when she took over lead vocals, particularly on a rousing, heartbroken ballad that really gave her the chance to cut loose and use every dramatic wavelength in her range. They wrapped up the set with a typically scorching version of the crescendoing Stay out of My Dreams as well as good-naturedly energetic covers of Badfinger’s No Matter What and a tongue-in-cheek version of the old Stones chestnut Live With Me, pulsing along on Nelson’s growling bassline. What else is there to say: about an hour’s worth of music and not a single bad song. This one definitely ought to make our best-of list at the end of the year. The Disclaimers are back at Spikehill on Aug 15 at 9 PM.

July 19, 2008 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews

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