4/5 Clem Snide @ Mohawk
Eef Barzelay has resurrected himself; both in the studio and onstage. After a 2 year hiatus under the moniker Clem Snide, Barzelay (joined by fellow “vaudeville hoofers” Brendan Fitzpatrick on bass and Ben Martin on the drum kit) now ooze coolness. After nearly two decades of a constantly rotating nucleus of band members ranging in sounds from post-punk to alt-country, Snide has outwardly got it right. Follow the jump to continue reading our Clem Snide w/ Broken West at Mohawk show review.
Opening for Clem Snide Saturday, were the Heligoats, a duo from Chicago, followed by LA rockers and ATH favorites, The Broken West. After a subtle, but entertaining performance from the Heligoats, (which is a combination of goat and helicopter, obviously), The Broken West took to the stage. Major chord progressions vocal harmonies and fuzzy lyrical arrangements were a shot in the arm to the crowd, who were busy testing the Mohawk’s updated seating. Broken West front man, Ross Flournoy and company came out swinging with several songs from their latest release, Now or Heaven, including “Perfect Games” and “Ambuscade”. A set so full of energy and pure classic rock hooks, paired with West-coast subtleties, you could nearly hear the ocean in sunny California.
With a quirky attitude and some fly, new threads, Clem Snide took the stage at the Mohawk on a cool Saturday evening with a profound mission statement, “Let’s get sexy”. With those words, the trio thrashed into opener “Wal-Mart” displaying Barzelay’s nasal howl in full effect matched by playful, twitchy dance moves, sliding back and forth across the stage like Marty McFly at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. The opener was followed with several older tunes such as “Lets’ Explode”, from the album The Ghost of Fashion and the ode to Daniel Johnston, “Yip/Jump Music”. Other set highlights included “Something Beautiful”, from the album End of Love released in 2005. Barzelay then opened up on the meaning of “Born a Man”, the first song in the set from the latest album, Hungry Bird. It’s about a young married couple who move to a new place, but soon the marriage gets stale. They become swingers, but suddenly the woman gets sick and dies. “Because, sometimes,” explains Barzelay, “that happens”, “Oh,” he continues “and in the background the weather channel is on.” With his tongue as far into his cheek as humanly possible, they continued the hour long set with “Collapse”, “Ice Cube”, and “Fight Song”, before a short break and a deserved cry from the crowd for an encore. Perhaps that culmination of a great set was the encore starting with “Me No”, with its haunting lyrics and churning guitar riffs, “I Love the Unknown” followed by the closer “Man in the Mirror” with grins from ear to ear.
Overall, Mohawk continues to bring in great talent and with updates to the sound system and amenities; it is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots. You can catch me on the couch upstairs. Clem Snide’s tour continues with the Heligoats as openers for the next couple weeks along the West Coast and through the Midwest; however The Broken West share the stage only one more night at Spaceland in L.A next week.