[Photo courtesy of Oliver Lopena]
There are many reasons to like the Austin band Ume, who’ve been hailed as a Next Big Thing in guitar rock more than a few times by people in the know. They’ve built that reputation on a few solid pillars, the first being an excellent live show helmed by vocalist/guitarist Lauren Langner Larson. Larson is a riot of thrashing hair and gravelly vocals onstage, almost impossible not to watch. The band coasted into Maxwell’s for one of its final nights riding a wave of SXSW buzz and ready to warm up for a show or two in Manhattan in the next days. These shows would also give the band a chance to test out some of the songs for the follow-up to their 2011 album, Phantoms, a cohesive set of music best experienced at high volumes, even better, live in a room.
Ume came out strong on this night with “The Conductor”, one of the highlights from Phantoms, followed by a song they’re calling “Bass Face” for now. They were sharp, intense, rabid — real guitar rock, and proud of it. Then, in the middle of yet another semi-titled song, “Curish”, the band’s momentum took a devastating hit when some house gear blew, causing them to lose guitars. “Curish” stopped.
These are the moments that solidify or break young bands. They either pull through, or they don’t. Ume took a few minutes to re-group, re-write their setlist, switch out gear. Then they pummeled us with another new one, called “On the One” right now. Three more songs after that, whose intensity made up for lost time and momentum. For the band, the night went less-than-ideal. For people like me, who’d never seen them before, it gave a lot of reasons to see them again.
So, in deference to the band, please listen to the concert captured here with this caveat: I can’t claim it’s this band at their best, because they don’t. We felt, and the band agreed, that as this would be their only show at the now-closed legendary club, it was worth having out there as a document for history. And really — if this isn’t this band at their absolute best, how good must that be? I’d urge you to find out by streaming and buying their tracks on bandcamp, and more importantly, seeing them on tour.
I recorded this set with Schoeps MK5 microphones and a soundboard feed from Mitch, a Maxwell’s engineer. The sound quality of the capture it excellent despite the equipment issues on stage.
Stream “The Conductor”
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[Photo courtesy of Chris Casciano and available for sale on his site]
Hoboken, NJ USA
Hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Soundboard (engineer: Mitch) + Schoeps MK5 (PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>>Roland R-26>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, tape exciter)>Audacity 2.03 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )
01 The Conductor
02 Bass Face $
03 Curish *
04 On The One $
05 Chase It Down
06 Xie Xie
07 Black Stone
$ working title
* working title/gear issues and cuts out