don't you tell me how i feel.


mr. ed by v

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This weekend I saw Ed Schrader’s Music Beat — the Baltimore duo who I praised on this blog not long ago — at 285 Kent in Brooklyn, which was as bizarre and riveting a show as expected. The band was second to last, sandwiched between headliner Ceremony, who I’d never heard of and didn’t stick around for, and Give, who were busy making everyone miserable when we arrived. Give were a clear grunge-era throwback, a bunch of guitar-wielding dudes in long hair and shorts thrashing around behind a singer whose range was limited, to put it nicely. I wish I’d left for the show about 20 minutes later, but Schrader, thankfully, didn’t disappoint.

Their setup is deceptively simple: Schrader plays a single drum that he lights from below, giving his face that classic haunted-flashlight effect. For accompaniment, there’s bassist Devlin Rice, shouting along as needed. At first glance, both look like they just got off of a shift at Kinko’s — Schrader with his tucked-in polo shirt, Rice in nerdy glasses. But the instant soundcheck ended, you could tell this was no joke.

Schrader slams out beats and sings with near-scary concentration, each song an intense sub-three-minute burst. It’s clear that much of the band’s appeal comes from Schrader’s theatricality (unblinking eyes and lots of shamanlike hand motions) and chameleonlike voice, which shifts seamlessly from a punk shout to a low, slow rumble. A man with a lesser set of pipes — or one who broke character, ever — couldn’t pull this off.

On another throwback note, during their set I found myself (inadvertently) in the middle of a mosh pit for the first time in years. Ugh.

More Ed Schrader here

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