Phew. Landlady took a lot out of me on Saturday. A lot. I felt musically winded walking out of Hardywood, my ears just completely overcome by the band’s aural onslaught and my eyes just tired from frantically darting across the stage to capture it all. That feeling was… well, just awesome.
Somewhere between having my senses blown out and getting lost in the moment, I found myself really thinking about “art rock” and how it gets thrown at the band. It just seemed so insufficient while I watched them live. Maybe it’s because art rock has become so stylized over the last decade, far removed from bands like Talking Heads and The Velvet Underground… but then Landlady’s pretty removed from those bands as well. Really, the band’s music seems more like a happy medium between Brian Wilson and Buddy Rich, with the sonic side leaning towards Wilson and the visual side bypassing Rich altogether. I talked about jazz a lot with Adam Schatz last year for an article with RVA Magazine so the Rich comparison isn’t some new leap I’m making, or a new leap altogether for any listener. It’s just seeing them live that caused the jazz influence to really hit me over the head, due to their precisely terse conclusions and incessantly sprawling melodies. It all made it so fascinating to witness.
Examining the music of Landlady is great, but you really can’t talk about seeing them live without mentioning Schatz’s presence and performance on stage. Let’s throw out some words. Unpredictable. Magnetic. Emotional. Gutsy. Adrenalized. Intoxicating. His varied paroxysms on stage really spoke to the primal nature of a lot of Landlady’s songs, making the music that much more gripping to witness. It was never excessive though, always arriving at the exact right moment of a song with a departure just as punctual. Watching him tear down and reassemble “Above My Ground” on top of a barrel in front of the stage is something that will forever be in my mind now. Or as the song mantra goes, “Al-ways. Al-ways. Al-ways. Al-ways.”
Quick side note: as I mentioned in Drew Necci’s blog, Adam Schatz is actually contributing to Off Your Radar Newsletter in a week. I’m pretty stoked about it, and the record itself, and I think it’s safe to say this is one OYR issue you don’t want to skip so subscribe now if you haven’t already!