Forward, Russia! brings the wails. - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
November 15, 2006
iForward, Russia! straight up bailed on us on that especially spooky night a couple weeks ago. There we were, decked out in our Animal Collective costumes, all excited to see these guys play a Halloween show in the L.E.S, but apparently their spazzy singer, Tom Woodhead, strained his voice and could not perform (it happens to the best of men). I never doubted the accuracy of this report. If you've ever seen Forward, Russia! live, you'll know a vocal injury to that man was a foregone conclusion. It's a wonder Woodhead can go ANY show without permanently damaging his voice (or at least throwing his back out). Use your diaphragm, dude. But thankfully, my discontent at missing a musical happening did not last long. The band is back, and they get a second chance to sway NYC to their side. And this time, Woodhead's voice is healthy... for now.

Don't lump FR! with all those other bands. Sure, this quartet may be from the U.K., and they just happen to play yelp rock with some synths and beats you can dance to, but this isn't another Franz Ferdinand we're talking about here. Forward, Russia!'s guitar lines are too interesting for that comparison (BUST). And clearly the guitars are the focal point of their attack, much more than synths. Their axes stab, jar, and spar with pinpoint precision. Some say these guys remind them of early Sonic Youth. Some say At the Drive-In. Some say Wire. I say iForward, Russia!. And when they go on, they love to give the audience something that "really cooks."

Also playing is Georgia's Snowden. Imagine a cross between Interpol and Nada Surf. Go ahead and imagine it, it's fun! This Jade Tree band (Joan of Arc, Pedro the Lion) somehow manages to make distorted shoegazing swirls and a gloomy baritone (courtesy of singer Jordan Jeffares) sound like sugar pop. Most of their songs have synth beats you can (maybe) dance to, and they also take ample liberties with the distortion pedal. These guys definitely like their layers. Really, though, how much you like Snowden depends on how much you like Jeffares voice. It pretty much dominates the show.

Opening is NYC's Meneguar, a very good guitar-driven band whose singer sort of sounds like the guy from The Hold Steady. There is a positive vibe to this melodic (mostly) punk rock, complete with Superchunk-friendly riffs and Les Savy Fav-friendly angularity. They are a band void of pretension that wants to write really good rock songs. If you liked the indie rock of the 90's, you will like Meneguar. Look for the reissue of their hard-to-find debut I Was Born At Night on Troubleman Unlimted records.

Forward, Russia!, Snowden and Meneguar play Bowery Ballroom, on Tuesday, November 28th.


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