Going in my expectations were already high, as I fucking adore I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, the frighteningly gorgeous debut album by Cold Specks, with its glorious sense of doom and masterfully crafted lyrics. The music makes me ache and want to curl up with a warm blanket and footy pajamas. It is perfect. Al Spx has the voice that sounds like the tail end of a hurricane, powerful and fragile at the same time, it is the perfect vessel to express the beauty and loss that Cold Specks so masterfully conveys.
Like I said, I was fucking geeked on this going in.
I can’t say I didn’t have my trepidations. I mean New Yorkers can be fucking assholes to new artists, especially if they haven’t been signed off on yet, for all of our bravado about being individuals we are some following ass muthafuckers. Sorry NYC, it’s the truth and you know it.
Last time I went to see a new artist at Bowery Ballroom it was the wildly awesome Callers touring in support of their stellar album Life of Love. Needless to say hip New York ruined that fucking show by talking over the whole set about the shit that “those” types of New Yorkers talk about. So when I got to the door and heard Al Spx's voice cutting through the summer air I started preparing myself for the worst. Luckily my fears were not realized.
The crowd sat silent, soaking in the power of this voice and letting the lyrics wash over them in an almost spiritual awakening. It was stirring to say the least. At the end of every song the venue erupted into applause. I have never seen a New York crowd so taken with an artist, especially a new artist. Al Spx held them in her hand like some sort of semi-shy cult leader. She could have gotten the crowd to storm city hall and demand that Bloomberg declare every third Friday Cold Specks day, and by god I would have been right with them selling beef patties and hemp t-shirts… protesters love that shit.
Traditionally when Cold Specks plays live it is a 6-piece outfit that includes a back up dancer that does that whole Mighty Mighty Boss-tones chubby guy ska dance thing1, but this tour it was just Al with her guitar. A solitary figure evolving in front of our eyes. It was amazing to watch her go from sort of shy and timid at the beginning only to blossom into this powerful goddess-like entity belting out pain and life with nothing but that god damned glorious voice and guitar.
Holy shit, it made my boys descend and my voice drop 3 octaves, she has the kind of voice that can destroy you and heal you in the same note. It is a modern fucking marvel, yet as old as I imagine god’s tits to be.
I left the show with a greater appreciation for Cold Specks music and lyrics, especially the lyrics. Seeing them performed live gave them even more life and a greater sense of urgency. It's almost like if they weren’t belted out she would explode into a star cluster.
Be sure to catch Cold Specks/Al if they are in your neighborhood, it is a life affirming experience and you might just fucking weep, causing the teenagers to make fun of you… but Fuck YOU TEENAGERS!
For more information on shows, albums, shirts, tickets, etc visit Cold Specks' site.
1Not really I just wanted to hyperlink that dude because he makes me laugh, sorry I am a fucking child.