I never thought it would happen, that I would be actually hearing Carissa’s Wierd play a concert, especially one attended by only about 50 people and illuminated by exposed bulbs and white Christmas lights. I’d obsessed over the band for a while, regretting that it hadn’t been possible for me to see them before they broke up in 2003. Then one day a couple weeks ago, I was lazily scanning upcoming concert listings when their name jumped out at me. Could it be possible? And why were they playing at NYU? And why was it only $8?
I’m still not too sure about those last two, except that someone at NYU must have great connections or convincing skills and the school has kept their concert tickets at affordable student levels. I still didn’t quite believe it, even when I had the ticket in my hand and was standing inside the NYU union in an auditorium lined with chairs, a little like the set up for a middle school dance.
The openers were a little odd and didn’t really have much in common with Carissa’s Wierd’s dreamy indie. Arms and Sleepers was first with droning dance music in front of sprawling videos. But then it moved from artsy music to ART with Kayo Dot. It kind of reminded me of what you might get in high school if you really liked both Metallica and Brian Eno, but you had to let all your friends in the band, even the ones who played wailing trumpet and saxophone and banged on scrap metal.
Carissa’s Wierd finally took the stage and delivered one of the best performances of any band I’ve ever seen. Their heartbreaking melodies were actually making people in the sparse, but dedicated, audience cry. I almost couldn’t breathe at the beginning of some songs. It’s the kind of music you might listen to alone at night with perhaps a few beers, feeling sorry for yourself. But that’s making it sound unfairly trite. There’s just an incredible intelligence and beauty to all of Carissa’s Wierd’s music that I find enthralling. I’ve listened to the songs countless times and the impact never wears off. The members of the band are now doing other projects, with Mat Brooke leading Grand Archives after being a part of Band of Horses, led by another onetime member Ben Bridwell. Jenn Ghetto still performs, now under the name S. Yet I still wish the band would come back together for good. (This show was only part of a brief reunion in support of a new 7″, although I don’t know if new material will come after this.) Anyway, writing about music never quite captures it. And you’re here on the internet where your listening senses can be engaged. So below are some songs. Unfortunately, it seems no one took video at this concert, probably too mesmerized to think about it (there was almost total silence between songs). So you’ll just have to imagine. And have a glass of whiskey and your journal handy. Oh, and here are some great photos from the show.
Carissa’s Wierd – Die
Carissa’s Wierd – They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave
Carissa’s Wierd – Blankets Stare (Live)
Carissa’s Wierd – The Color That Your Eyes Changed With The Color Of Your Hair