On March 10, on a dark and stormy night in New York, one of the best shows I’ve seen so far this year took place. After playing a stellar show the night before at the Mercury Lounge, the Merge Records double bill of The Love Language and Telekinesis took their act to Brooklyn’s Rock Shop and proved that the raved-about show of the previous night was no fluke.
After a pleasant-enough set by opener Diamond Doves, Telekinesis took the stage and rocked their socks off for the entirety of their 40 minute set. In the wake of Phil Collins’s recent retirement announcement, fans of singing drummers need not despair, as that weirdest of instrument/vocalist pairings is alive in well, as evidenced by the first two bands of the night. Diamond Doves’ drummer keeps the singing drummer torch going, but Telekinesis’ Michael Benjamin Lerner is on a whole other level. He may or may not currently be the best singing drummer, but he’s just a flat-out great songwriter. Now a new three-piece group, the Seattle band tore through the poppiest songs from their two records, and added a cover of Guided By Voices’ classic “Game of Pricks.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a band with a higher per capita energy level than Telekinesis.
While the crowd seemed to thin a bit after Telekinesis’ set, those that stayed – either as fans, or just wanting to stay out of the deluge outside – were treated to another fantastic set. As with Telekinesis, The Love Language was started as a solo project that has since blossomed into a fully functioning band. Singer/guitarist Stuart McLamb varies between plaintive croon and triumphant wailing, and the whole band looked to be having way too much fun playing songs that are largely about a bad breakup, aimlessness, and personal disintegration.