I WAS THERE . . . Tribeca Film Festival’s Breaking the Band

Event: Tribeca Film Festival’s Breaking the Band with The Republic Tigers + The Virgins + The Hold Steady
Venue: Webster Hall
Date: 5/2/08

It may be aggravating to see the Tribeca Film Festival’s huge black SUV’s cruising around Manhattan constantly, but they definitely know how to throw a party. Last Friday’s Breaking the Band Showcase made a local rock show into a full red-carpet event. Webster Hall’s labyrinthine faded opulence and an upstairs VIP lounge definitely added to the experience.

The Republic Tigers were Tribeca’s Next Big Thing in unsigned bands, and they definitely look the part. Unfortunately, they sound like a mumbly, over-amplified Interpol, but may grow out of that. In person they are easy-going and quite comfortable talking about what they need to do to grow as a band.

I wanted to blame the RT’s murky sound on Webster Hall, but The Virgins who played immediately after, totally shot that theory out of the water. The Virgins are my new favorite band, taking the best parts of early Cars and early Stones without sounding like a hackneyed tribute.

The Hold Steady closed out the night, and from the crowd’s response, they were clearly the big draw. They are decent and a lot of fun live, but seem to think being headliners gives them license to be dicks off stage. Still, they’re paid to put on a good show, not be our friends, and it’s hard not to have a good time while they’re on stage.


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