Show Review: Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! with A B and the Sea and Carletta Sue Kay at Bottom of the Hill, 4/27/10

by Vanessa Romero on April 29, 2010

Eddie and Dyan, in real life black and white, from a different show. Thanks to Aurelien for sharing.

Fellow Spinning Platters writer Marie Carney and I decided to take a different approach to writing a review of last night’s show from Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! at Bottom of the Hill. Taking a cue from singer Eddie Argos, best known from the band Art Brut where he also tends to speak-sing the lyrics, we decided to write a show review in conversation. I hope we would make Eddie proud.

Marie: We got there a little late and the first band was already on. I would say their name but they mumbled it too much for me to understand. Negative points for that. Positive points in my book for having a giant hairy male singer in a dress. But the audience seemed kinda scared. I don’t remember much about the music. Just the guy in the dress and him taking off his wig.

Vanessa: I actually looked up the opener’s name, it’s Carletta Sue Kay. I almost wish we had seen more of the show just because I thought the writing on the singers dress was a reference to the band in the movie Bandslam: I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On. Turns out it’s actually a Samuel Beckett line. Oops.

M: Hahaha! Only we would be disappointed by a band referencing Samuel Beckett instead of Bandslam. Though now my brain is drifting to “Waiting for Godot” jokes, which has nothing to do with anything other than my sleep deprivation. So yeah, I could see the mumbling being Carletta Sue Kay. They were beardy and not boring, so I guess that’s a good recommendation? It would have been nice to see more and have an actual opinion.

I thought the next band, A B and the Sea, was good though.

V: I wasn’t really into them at first, mostly because they were too 50s-60s referential for me (who would have thought?). I almost felt like the whole band, and not just the lead singer, should have adopted the same retro style, since he was sporting a bow tie and cuffed jeans. He had great energy too. I really enjoyed the last couple of songs they played, I just wish I had paid more attention to what they were called though. I know one of them they called their “dance song” and I have to admit my foot was bouncing the whole time they played.

M: They were super 60’s referential, but I’ve been really into that lately. And it had enough punk flavor to keep it interesting for me. It reminded me of Del Shannon, but with a more modern edge. The rhythm section was really tight, but the three part vocals were off sometimes. It felt like watching the makings of a great band, some more experience and tighten things up, and voila! Wonders abound. The best part of them though was the lead singer, Koley O’Brien, he was really engaging, looking into the audience and dancing around.

V: I just thought it was sad that it was obvious a lot of the crowd was there to see A B and the Sea and didn’t bother sticking around for EWITFR…N. Eddie Argos always puts on a great show but the audience cleared out so quick they didn’t get a chance to see them. It’s an interesting project though, a band he started with his girlfriend, The Blood Arm’s Dyan Valdes, to sing songs in response to other people’s songs. Unfortunately from where we were standing I wasn’t able to make out very many of the lyrics, which may be one of Eddie’s strongest suits, that and stage presence.

M: The muffled lyrics was disappointing. I could hear Dyan’s backup crystal clear, but I couldn’t hear Eddie very well, so I kept inching backwards, but it never got any better, even when Eddie was standing right next to me! Sadly the sound was better when I saw him at SXSW, which is just odd. Though part of that impression might be that they had a live drummer in Austin, where here it was an iPod doing the drum tracks. I have to say I agree more and more with Gordon that a live drummer is very important.

I was sad as well that everyone left, they might have been surprised, though, with the sound of A B and the Sea, I don’t know if their fans would have the right sense of humour for EWITFR… N. But do I just think that because I’m an anglophile?

V: I was wondering who played with them at SXSW? Because Eddie mentioned that Art Brut’s regular guitarist, Ian Catskilkin, who joined them for this show, had only learned the songs a couple days ago.

It’s true about the drums though, since I think I liked the band best during the two songs Ian switched from guitar to drums. One, the drums just sound so much better then the iPod, and two, the lack of the guitar just made it so much easier to hear Eddie. I think that was during “My Way (Is Not Always the Best Way)” which was a response to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”.

So Marie, any last words to say about last night?

M: I have no idea who played with them at SXSW. It was one of those ‘it’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m so tired all I can do is space out and sway around’ shows. But I don’t remember a guitarist. Just Eddie, Dyan and a drummer. But there had to have been a guitarist! If only we had thought to stay and ask Eddie and Dyan these questions!

My final thoughts: last night proved, again, that watching Eddie Argos perform is always a good idea. Since I could hear what he was saying between songs it was still totally worth going. And his stage banter is different every time, which is extremely impressive.

V: Very true. Eddie Argos is truly a showman.


And that about wraps up our conversation. I think it’s safe to say we both would recommend going to see Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! live.

And here is the setlist:

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randy walker April 29, 2010 at 12:55 pm

if, as you say, “It would have been nice to see more and have an actual opinion,” then why do you make negative comments and say that i mumble and that my music is pretty much unmemorable? sort of an uninformed contradiction don’t you think?

“beardy and not boring, so I guess that’s a good recommendation?”

this review is asinine and really makes you both look incredibly stupid. and by the way, you wouldn’t know beckett if his rotting irish corps sat on your ignorant girly-girl faces!

Marie Carney April 29, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I’m sorry that I came across as offensive and negative, my intent was neutrality. I didn’t think your singing was mumbly, only that I couldn’t understand the name of the band, and I would have liked to.
And by saying that I didn’t remember much and it would have been nice to see more I was implying that I would see your band again, especially since we only heard two songs.
Obviously I failed in my subtext.

Marie Carney April 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

It’s too bad you’ve decided I’m stupid, cause I have some awesome “Waiting for Godot” jokes…
But a game of “Name That Rotting Irish Corpse” might be more fun! I think you have a winning idea for an edgy gameshow there.

Though I understand that you would be sensitive about your band, after a re-reading I don’t think our comments were negative. Saying I didn’t remember the music is different than saying the music was unmemorable.

randy walker April 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm

im not the least bit sensitive about my band. im sensitive about shitty reviewers. about people who dont make an effort to see opening bands and then either makes stupid comments in stupid blogs about them or imply comments when they probably weren’t even at the venue while the opening bands played in the first place. tell me about your expertise in these matters? tell me how it is one can make passing comments about a band, “It would have been nice to see more and have an actual opinion.” when they clearly did not even see the band. also, here is a link as to the definition of the word unmemorable.

randy walker April 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm

waiting for godot or any of the other great works by this nobel laureate is plenty funny for me. a 21st century spin on it im sure would only leave a bad taste in my mouth. really, trying to be clever about something clearly out of your league is mind staggering, and yes, i would say, stupid.

randy walker April 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm

if you’d like to write a truly intelligent review and challenge yourself to create something bright and worth reading, we will be playing The Great American Music Hall on July 30th.

Gordon Elgart April 29, 2010 at 5:50 pm

While I was looking for the textbook definition of “unmemorable” which was not on the page you linked (guess you should leave the linking to people with websites and not those with MySpace pages having misspellings in the listings of upcoming gigs), I thought about how smart Marie is, and how dumb you are.

If you really think trolling on our website is going to get us to come check out your next show, you might be right. We’re music bloggers so we must love ironic insulting behavior.

Best of luck to you on your PR efforts.

Music Dork April 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I imagine if I were going to ‘review’ a show, for a blog or otherwise, I would do a bit of research to find out who I was about to see, and show up on time rather than spending the time to concoct a faux-cutesy pseudo-conceptual ‘review technique’.

Not being a blogger, I’ll leave that to you. I thought Carletta Sue Kay was amazing the other night. The songwriting is exceptional and the performance was inspiring. Perhaps M & V were not convinced, but real musicians and talented songwriters have declared Carletta Sue Kay to be in their top 10 of 2009 (Mark Eitzel), the best band they have seen on their long tour (John Dwyer), or their favorite band in the world (Eddie Argos). I’m sure the band is more impressed with the respect of their contemporaries then that of kitschy non-reviewing bloggers.
-Just the opinion of a fan, not a musician or blogger

Bethesda Mercantile April 29, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Hmmm… I’m gonna have to agree with the dissenters here and say that this blogging stuff doesn’t really qualify as that much of a review. I thought Carletta Sue Kay was amazing quite honestly, and I even overheard Eddie Argos telling the band members outside after their set that he was left speechless by their set… So, either way, get there early next time.

David Price April 29, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I can’t even believe this guy has the audacity to come and insult Marie and Vanessa. Brush it off asshole! This wont be the last time your band gets a bad review, BELIEVE ME! Brush it off and move on loser, seriously, take your band’s name off google alert if you don’t like lackluster reviews!

randy walker April 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm

trolling. hummm? where does one usually go to troll? come now. dont slag yourself darlin’. and um…lackluster? are you defending your friends or calling them out? have some pride in what you do gordon. for god’s sake marie, if you’re gonna be big girls and expect to be taken seriously, see the show and then review it. dont be cute and skirt around the thing you’re trying to do. just be honest and do it. if you hate the band, say WHY you hate the band, if you love it, say why you love it. now, if you dont really have an opinion, or in your case, you didn’t really see the show…im thinking…keep your mouth shut? yeah? doest that sound like the smart thing to do? talking out of one’s ass is just…well…you know what that is…right david? by the way, the links do work…perhaps it’s a reading deficiency on your part gordon? and one last thing…no one is trying to get you rank amateurs to come to their show. dont be absurd. dont delude yourselves. it was merely an offer for marie to maybe expand her horizons. that is all.

randy walker April 29, 2010 at 10:42 pm

hey! but coming from a john mayer fan…hey…maybe you’re right gordon…maybe you’re right???????????????? after reading your piece on this twat of all twats…marie’s starting to sound like susan sontag.

Marie Carney April 30, 2010 at 2:07 am

I would like to thank everyone for their honest opinions and I will take all your comments into consideration in the future.
I do not have a problem stating my opinion, whether positive or negative, when I feel I have given the band a fair shot (if you read my other reviews on the site or even this one in its entirety, you will find that to be true). In the case of Carletta Sue Kay, I didn’t see enough of them to give a fair review, so I attempted to keep my comments neutral. At the time it didn’t seem proper to pretend they hadn’t played the show at all. Despite any flaws, I will stand by our review as it was my truth at the time and I will respect that you do not agree with it.

I think it is wonderful that everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions in this open forum, and I have expressed mine more than enough. You are of course at liberty to continue the discussion but I bid you all Adieu, and maybe we will speak again someday on a new topic.

Rob Thomas April 30, 2010 at 2:54 am

Hi Marie,
I think the point that is being made in the criticisms (if you weed out the snark) is that instead of saying “I didn’t see the band, maybe next time,” you said, “I didn’t see the band, maybe next time and, by the way, blah blah blah opinion opinion opinion” (btw: those blahs are not pejorative). By doing this, you opened yourself up to, and ultimately deserve, the criticism you received. However, instead of owning up to that mistake, you attempt to run away from it by talking about standing by your review “as it was my truth at the time.” What does that even mean? Moreover, how could there be any “truth at the time” when the truth is, you did not even see or hear the band? I’m sorry, but your reply begins with a statement “I feel I have given the band a fair shot,” which is demonstrably false (again, how could you when you didn’t even hear them).

Finally, based on your review, one gets the impression that you thought that CSK was just some weird opening act (akin to a circus show, perhaps?). It’s not as if men haven’t been wearing dresses in bands since, oh, I don’t know, Kurt Cobain? But perhaps this is the real source of the problem: Heterosexual panic, by which I mean heterosexuals panicking at the sight of a non-heterosexual band in what is largely a straight club. I mean, let’s be honest (since you brought up “truth”). This is precisely how your review reads.

Instead of focusing on the music, which is what you were there to do, because you didn’t hear the music, you decided to write about something else. And it’s coming back to you in the form of these comments here. Instead of owning up to that, you attempted to hide behind banal statements that have nothing to do with your own actions. Since you brought up the question of “truth,” by all means, please be honest with yourself and, I hope, your readers.

rebecca April 30, 2010 at 7:59 am

So apparently the only intelligent review is a positive one, eh?

I wonder if someone would be as up-in-arms if you’d said “I don’t remember much, but man was it awesome!”

Also, the idea of someone accusing Marie of heterosexual panic is just about the funniest thing I’ve ever read, but I guess you’d have to know her.

I keep combing those first two paragraphs, looking for a point when she actually said anything negative about the music, and she didn’t. She said she couldn’t understand the singer; which, when you realize she pointed out she couldn’t hear the next singer either is actually more derisive of the sound guy than anyone else.

Sounds to me like someone is a little twitchy and wants everything to be about him, and is going to be sorely disappointed when he finally figures out that it isn’t.

Gordon Elgart April 30, 2010 at 8:00 am

@Randy You’ve taken what was an honest evaluation (I didn’t see much, I would have liked to have seen more) and turned it into some sort of hatred toward us. There are many bands who want us “rank amateurs” at their shows, and they take our opinions graciously, whether positive, negative or in between. You don’t know of any of us, have poor reading comprehension skills, and you’re simply being a dick. This is probably the most honest evaluation of your band you will ever get; too bad you can’t appreciate it.

@David You’re right that his band will probably get bad reviews in the future, but he didn’t get one from us. At this point, I wish they had. It would at least make the reaction more understandable.

@Marie and Vanessa This is a great piece that shows your personality, and fits in perfectly with the mission of this website which is to have fun writing about music as fans of music.

@Rob The “truth” is that she LIKED THAT IT WAS A GUY IN A DRESS (“Positive points in my book for having a giant hairy male singer in a dress.”), and accusing her, or anyone on this website, of “heterosexual panic” is pretty laughable. Maybe you should read around here a little bit before doing that.

Thanks to everyone for their time commenting on this post. The thread is now closed.

If you have any additional comments, please email them to me directly at [email protected].

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