Eclectic Liverpool quartet, Clinic, played the last of a series of recent US tour dates Saturday night at New York City's Bowery Ballroom. The place was pretty packed and the band didn't disappoint, delivering an hour of upbeat music that had attendees bopping along to the foot-stomping rhythms that pervaded the venue.
Clad in Hawaiian shirts and their trademark surgical masks, Clinic were able to play a hefty mix of music from their quirky catalog. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Ade Blackburn informed us that they would actually be playing two sets for us that night. The first consisted of the entire tracklisting from their latest album, Do It!, while the second set featured various songs from previous albums. The newer material was fantastic live and all the songs seemed to carry an extra jolt of energy, while still sounding similar to their studio counterparts. While the audience was enthusiastic and seemed to have a lot of fun listening to the new album's material, I think we were all even more excited during the second set. "The Second Line" from 2000's Internal Wrangler was greeted by loud cheers and many shouted along with Blackburn when he called out "No!" intermittently while performing the title track from 2002's Walking With Thee. The excitement prevailed during the encore, which the band kicked off with "The Return of Evil Bill."
The night featured a mixture of crunchy guitar and organ sounds, accompanied by fast, tight rhythms — and you could hear elements of punk, garage rock, and even the blues in the music. But even though most of Clinic's music is an amalgamation of sounds and genres, there is something unique and fresh about it, which makes it a lot of fun to hear live.
Opening act BBQ's set was also pretty solid and played a good part in loosening up the crowd a bit before Clinic took the stage. BBQ — which is essentially Mark Sultan, a one-man band playing guitar and a partial drumkit — played a mostly continuous set, peppered with occasional humorous banter. At one point, it looked as though his set was going to have to end early, after a faulty amp finally failed him about fifteen minutes into his performance. The audience actually seemed sad to see him go, but BBQ was able to return and complete his portion of the show.
As the set came to an end, BBQ poked fun at the audience for simply standing around, saying that people could dance, clap, or even sulk during his next song, if that was the "cool" thing to do. Luckily, he managed to make most attendees laugh, just in time to enjoy themselves even more when Clinic took the stage.
Rad Perspectives is an outlet for Radhika, a young journalist and graduate student, to do a little fun writing on the side. Posts typically focus on pop culture, music, travel, and miscellaneous observations.