Archive for Comet Ping Pong

At Comet Ping Pong, Mikal Cronin Replenishes The Tree Of Real Rock’n’Roll

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on June 22, 2013 by johnbuckley100


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Seeing Mikal Cronin play at nearby Comet Ping Pong was as disorienting as it would be to see Ty Segall play at your child’s elementary school cafeteria: at once familiar, intimate, but almost dream-like in its jumbled combination of figures you never expected to see in that particular locale.  His set relied, it seemed, far more on songs from his eponymous first album than on the brilliant MC II, which loyal Tulip Frenzy readers know we have grokked so thoroughly that it haunts us.  He kicked off the set with “Is It Alright” and played “Apathy” before getting to the amazing “Am I Wrong” from the new album.  Playing an electric 12-string while fellow vets from the Ty Segall Band thrashed out his unique mash-up of Beatles’n’Beach Boys-meet-punk-rock’n’Lemonheads, a cool ocean breeze from California beaches swept through a room ordinarily given up to vicious ping pong matches between fathers and their six-year old daughters.  It was a fun evening, and he was great.

We wonder if, had we stumbled across Cronin outside of the context of Ty Segall — like everyone else this side of Laguna Beach, we first became aware of him via his collaboration with his pal on Reverse Shark Attack — how would we rank him? Where would we sort him on our taxonomical scale? Which aquarium would we try to place him in lest he eat the comparative guppies or get eaten by the bigger fish? The temptation is to view Mikal as an Earth-sized planet revolving around Ty’s Sun-sized talent, but MC II reveals him to be far more than that.  Yes, we are anxiously awaiting Ty’s August release of Sleeper, but it’s going to have to be darn tasty to exceed the savory pie Cronin released in May, not to mention the live show we saw last night at our favorite children’s pizza place cum ping pong stadium.

Still, it’s sufficiently impossible to separate Cronin from Segall that there’s no point in trying.  Segall plays on Cronin’s album and vice versa, Cronin’s songwriting has surely benefited from close collaboration with the freshest American rock’n’roll songwriting talent since maybe John Fogerty, and they share, among other things — a locale, an approach, a drummer — a gloriously catholic take on modern rock’n’roll — Segall a tad more influenced by Kurt Cobain, Cronin by Brian Wilson.

Word has it that Mikal stuck it through to get a college degree from music school, and recently.  We don’t know if that’s true, but if so, it reveals something about his earnestness and responsibility.  And ambition.  Based on how excellent he and his band were last night, even in the face of the expected bad sound in a small back room in a pizza parlor, given the genius-level pop chops revealed on MC II, this is a kid who completely has it together, and is going far.  The tree of rock’n’roll is replenished by the fresh blood of talents like Mikal Cronin.  This morning we are groggy from the experience, but grateful, and at peace with the future.

The Sic Alps, So Near, And Yet So Far

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 29, 2012 by johnbuckley100

So while we’re on this little run of obsessing over SF bands (see the highly overwrought prose below, heaped upon both Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall), we happened to look at the weather forecasts for the Bay Area this morning.  All the weather guys are predicting sunshine and massive hangovers, at least for Giants fans.  (It’s the only way sports news could make it on the broadcasts, what with non-stop coverage of the Frankenstorm.)  Oh yeah, while the West Coast is all sunny and bright, we here in the Mid Atlantic have the Clouds O’ Doom sailing in like the Spanish Armada.  And the worst of it?  It may keep us from seeing the Sic Alps tonight play at Comet Ping Pong.

So we’re loving the eponymous Sic Alps album, love the “Hey Joe” soundalike, “Wake Up, It’s Over II,” appreciate to no end how they can take a song like “Thylacine Man” and shroud it in this Blood Meridian (the band, not the greatest novel ever) sense of remorse.  This is exactly the band you would want to travel, by automobile, the approximately two miles from your home to see play at a restaurant notable for two things — the pizzas, which are both wonderful and come shaped like comets, and the ping pong tables in the back where many an adult has just crushed it while their kids, on the losing end of the exchange, giggle and wail.  Yeah, exactly the kind of place you’d want to see a band play a rocker as effin’ perfect as “Moviehead” — shimmering guitars chiming with languor that seems like suppressed urgency, not anything genuinely laid back — which of course was the plan.  To go t0night to see the Sic Alps play Comet Ping Pong.  Only this storm has come in on such a torrent of apocalyptic hype, one wonders if we could pack up the car and get there without being swept away to West Virginia, or crushed under a toppling silver maple.

So all day long we will wonder: will the Sic Alps even have been able to get here from Brooklyn (where they at least were scheduled to play last night)?  Will we be able to see the visiting San Francisco band?  Even if they get here, will Comet Ping Pong defy, if not the Mayor — does DC have a Mayor? — then reason to keep us out while the winds howl at 75 miles per hour?  We shall see.

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