The Rest

<img src="" alt=" " />First visits to New York can be tough for a band. ...

The Rest

First visits to New York can be tough for a band.  Everything from navigating the tight, packed streets of Manhattan to the outsized fears people still have of New York (seemingly thinking the city hasn’t changed since the seventies), not to mention the über-judgmental crowds and the high level of competition from all the other nightlife events in the City That Never Sleeps; it can be too much.  And that’s doubly true if you’re coming from some sleepy ‘burg, like, say, Hamilton, Ontario (and that’s Canada, too, folks…), like The Rest.  What’s more, you’ll be playing in some hole-in-the-wall dive in the Bowery and/or Brooklyn; likely before & after acts you’ve got nothing to do with.  So just do your best, and hope that’s enough, like The Rest did at Piano’s on Thursday, June 18th.

The young seven-person collective were making their first trip to the Big Apple (which actually wasn’t that far away – Hamilton’s just on the other side of the border from Upstate New York, at the western end of Lake Erie) on the back of their second LP, Everyone All At Once (QRO review).  On Everyone, The Rest shifted somewhat away from their more pop-friendly ensemble sounds of their self-released 2007 debut, Atlantis, Oh Our Savoir (QRO review), embracing an orchestral nature that is more accomplished, but less flat-out enjoyable.  However, live, they stuck to the collective, explosive grandeur, or at least as much as they could in the small backroom of Piano’s (QRO venue review).  While that obviously worked well on Atlantis’s great opener, “The Close Western”, it also helped lift relatively over-classical Everyone tracks like “Apples & Allergies” and “Walk On Water (auspicious beginnings)”, with which they ended the night.

young A.C. Newman + The HulkThe seven members of The Rest had the appearance of a motley crew, from a keyboardist who looked like a young A.C. Newman (QRO photos – of New Pornographers, QRO live review) to the guitarist behind him, who was something of a hulking behemoth.  The band did commit the cardinal sin of having their singer/frontman be the shortest member of the band – even the one female towered over him, though she thankfully spent a great deal of time sitting down, on cello.  That also made her stop looking over-tall – though taking off the furry hat with flaps helped; if there’s one thing to be learned from the teen romance flop Loser (the film that helped knock down the careers of both Jason Biggs & Mena Suvari after their American breakthroughs – Pie & Beauty, respectively), it is to take off that stupid-ass hat…

What was really tough was that The Rest was playing between a singer/songwriter in the midst of a residency at Piano’s (Gordon Voidwell), and ‘Fleet Week DJs’.  The front room of Piano’s was packed with bridge & tunnel types who go to it for the dance parties usually restricted to the upstairs.  Piano’s had made The Rest’s show free at the last minute, but it was tough to squeeze through all of those bar-goers in the front room to make it to the much sparser-filled back room.  The singer did joke about it, saying, “Next time, we will ‘bring the beats’”, but some of his other jokes were a bit lost (even one involving Stephen Colbert – but he does get points for mentioning America’s premier pundit…) – apparently they were working on very little sleep (and they thankfully didn’t do any ‘we need some Rest’ joke).

Lined up to play Todd P’s Monster Island Basement the next night (QRO event listing), The Rest won’t have to deal with douchebags there for hot chicks – just DIY punk kids.  And, as they say about New York, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” – so guess The Rest can play anywhere…

gotta tilt it to make the singer taller

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