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Less Is Enough With Modern Hut and Byrds Of Paradise at Mercury Lounge’s Don Giovanni Presents Saturday April 24th by Iman Lababedi

Sometimes it’s alright to meet your idols.
Last night I met one of mine.
Her name is Stephanie and she is the muse behind For Science’s masterpieces Tomorrow’s Just Another Day and Way Out Of Control. I don’t know what you might expect from the woman behind the man who, in a thorough fit of despondancy wrote: “Sometimes I wonder if the sun is outside, sometimes I wonder if  I’m even alive” and “Now I wonder if our hearts are bound to die…” on top of full length power rock ballad “A Rage Against Heaven” and hat in the ring for greatest rock song “Heavy Blues” and folk rocker “Just Pray”.
Good news, she is a as sweet  and as pretty you’d believe she’d have to be to nearly kill our hero Joe Steindhardt. “I broke his heart,” Stephanie laughs “but I put it back together again”.
Joe on the other hand… nah, just kidding Joe is a sweetheart as well  and also something of a practical joker doing a fast and short set while we were all waiting for the word. And I’ll tell you about his Modern Hut set in detail soon but next up was Byrds Of Paradise. I’d been up all night with Odessa Records friday and flew back early purely to catch the Modern Hut set but Joe wanted me to hang out of Byrds Of Paradise -his fave band in the world at the moment and I am happy I did. 
Don Giovanni  and Wild World Recording artists Byrds Of Paradise have attitude to burn. They look like psychotic prep school kids, sorta waiting to graduate to American Psycho wards and they spit out hardcore riffs behind a sweet voice and taunting screamer of a a vocalist. Sorta Pete Shelley fronts Minor Threat and it is a cathartic rage by a band who would rather die than acknowledge an audience.
Byrds of Paradise’s implied arrogance, their passive confrontation, works great at Mercury Lounge -maybe less so at Bowery Ballroom. The band mixes the vocals a little lower than I would like -it merges into a block white noise riffs where melody lines (you heard me) keep on catching the ear. If you go to
you can stream two songs in embryonic stage and it is real interesting because these are pop songs at this stage of the creation process and enforces the old lesson: start with a good song and you can fuck around with form at will. Don Giovanni are releasing a seven incher soon. Byrds Of Paradise stop at what feels like the midpoint of the set, unplug their instruments and stalk off the stage.
Speaking of confrontation, Joe Steinhardt’s Modern Hut are pretty confrontational in their own way. After getting us used to his new acoustic based sound, Joe straps on his electric guitar and roars through a speed of light set mixing mostly unreleased  material though you can stream three of em at
Joe is laughing , smiling, joking around. Just not with the audience, with the drummer. It’s an odd performance, like I said, confrontational in its own way. Joe’s voice is also a little too low in the mix for my tastes but these fast, loose, hard(core? almost) rock songs are so brilliant they withstand his desire to rock em hard when you wish he’d let you hear him sell em sweet.
But even that is nitpicking. This is the guy who wrote For Science’s songs, I’d love it if he chose to sing the Yellow Pages (sorry for the anachronism) and instead he kills “Time” (Sandy deBellis just said it sounds like the Beach Boys in slow motion -hahahahaa)  and “Heart” and “Louis St.” coulda used Marisa but it survived the onslaught. The opportunity to singalong to “Headaches” was worth the early trip home alone.
But it is over, way, way too fast. The audience howled at the abrupt ending. I asked Joe about the fast hook and he said he did it entirely on purpose and it makes sense in a way: if you have a For Science fanbase gagging for new material, giving em just a taste keeps the fires burning.
So two sets of thwarted anticipation: like going on a roller coaster and jumping off halfway.  But even halfway  the ride was still worth it.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna dust off my Fender Sunburst and write a song. But what rhymes with Stephanie? Epiphany? Screw it, I’ll call her Doris.

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