Earlier this year, NewVillager made a distinctive first impression with their off-the-wall costumed video for “Lighthouse.” Well, really, second impression, following their strange 30-person, 10-room RichDoors Game performance art piece last year. In neither case is the viewer quite sure what is going on, but one thing becomes instantly clear: this band is strange in the best way possible.
They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
What is it about artistic geniuses that make them so fragile, so seemingly unable to operate in the real world? Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath and Alexander McQueen all perished by their own hand. J.D. Salinger became a notorious recluse after the success of The Catcher in the Rye. Brian Wilson, the musical genius behind The Beach Boys, sunk almost as low as these, spending the first half of the ’70s mostly in bed doing drugs and then a number of years under the spell of a “therapist” who controlled his every move.
There’s no shame in enjoying a dingy college bar with your buddy’s band rambling through a set of well-known covers over a fuzzy sound system. You just don’t expect that sort-of-rehearsed cover band to be We Are Scientists playing in Williamsburg. Wednesday night – supported by Dev Hynes of Lightspeed Champion and Blood Orange, and (when not awkwardly facing the corner) Aaron Pfenning of Rewards – the Brooklyn-based duo loosely bumbled through all ten songs off Weezer’s 2001 The Green Album, before closing with their “two favorite Weezer songs.”
The evening was rife with sheepish grins between lead singer Keith Murray and Hynes – who supported on lead guitar – as the two dropped chords and lyrics. Whatever missteps were made along the way didn’t deter the enthusiastic crowd, which was small enough that when Pfenning offered to buy a drink for whomever could predict the two encore songs, you could easily hear someone yell, “Aaron, you don’t have any money.” No one else ventured a response.