Posted in music | pictures on May 13, 2011

photos by Ryan Barkan, words by Andrew Frisciano

Dirty Beaches @ Mercury Lounge - 5/12/2011
Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches - solo performer Alex Zhang Hungtai - played an early show at Mercury Lounge on Thursday (before the John Vanderslice/Damien Jurado show). It was one of two that he has in NYC this week (the second being tonight, 5/13, at Glasslands). For the short set, Alex kept it simple: himself, his loops, a microphone and a guitar. Dressed in a leather jacket, white t-shirt and jeans, he has the retro greaser image down (even his mic looks like it was pulled it from an old dictaphone). At times he'd drop the mic to burst into riffs, though that (the guitar, played with a broken string the entire set) seemed to be mostly an afterthought. The essence of the performance was the moody production and his own theatricality. It struck a Lynchian tone in both the imagery of the lyrics (archetypical Americana) and the sound (which combines punks and kitsch; the sample of Francoise Hardy's "Voila" in "Lord Knows Best" sounds like it was pulled from a Twin Peaks jukebox). As a performer, he's enigmatic and entertaining because he's alone, with no one else to detract from the illusion.

Interestingly, for tonight's show at Glasslands, Alex will be performing with a band. As he writes on his blog...

As for the Glasslands show in Brooklyn, I will be joined by Philadelphia's Lantern as my back up band. They are good buddies of mine and both show will be dramatically different. If you wish to catch the usual DB material, come to mercury lounge. If you like DB and want to hear what I sound like when I jam with other people as a full band, this your chance.
Near the end of the set on Thursday, he covered the song "El Dorado" by the band Matress. Alex blogged about that group too...
Had the pleasure of finally meeting Rex tonight in Portland, AKA Mattress, AKA Reservations. Who was a huge influence on the conception of early Dirty Beaches back in 2006 after I saw him perform at Cagibi in Montreal all alone on a stage, crooning. Armed with tape machine back up tracks, pedals, and other machinery, he rocks the mic like a shadow dancer in the night. Incredible voice.
A video of that track, and more pictures from Mercury Lounge, below...

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches

Dirty Beaches -- 2011 Tour Dates
05/13 Brooklyn, NY, Glasslands
05/14 Boston, MA, Slaughterhouse Gallery
05/16 Montreal, QC, Casa Del Popolo
05/18 Pittsburgh, PA, Brillobox
05/19 Chicago, IL, Schubas
05/20 Champaign, IL, Mike N Molly's
05/21 Milwaukee, WI, Cactus Club
05/22 Minneapolis, MN, 7th Street Entry
07/01 New York, NY, South Street Seaport w/ Lower Dens

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Comments (14)

thank god - the dude is so boring by himself

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2011 5:09 PM

Was incredibly bummed out to discover that he's a really shitty live show, moreso because of the money I wasted. I should've just went to The Alligator Lounge, I could've had a pizza while watching hipsters make asses of themselves.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2011 5:29 PM

Yeah, this was was a bad performance - never again

Posted by patagonia sale | May 13, 2011 5:45 PM

played with a broken string? what a douche. please, dirty beaches, fuck off!

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2011 7:18 PM

New Rule. The word beach is not allowed in your band name.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2011 9:07 PM

you douches should do your homework beforehand so you arent disappointed.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2011 11:59 PM

11:59 said it.

him with a band was great at glasslands last night.

psyachedlic shit was well, shit.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2011 2:42 PM

Is this the same dude from that Mystery Train movie? "CARL PERKINS!"

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2011 3:05 PM

anyone know the first song from last night?

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2011 3:49 PM

uh the glasslands show may have been the worst thing i've seen in my life

Posted by Anonymous | May 15, 2011 1:37 PM

huh? dirty beaches looks aight
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaNiZMCQzXY

Posted by Anonymous | May 15, 2011 5:22 PM

that glasslands show was terrible. i don't know what the fuck you turds are talking about. i'm embarrassed i even considered myself a fan at one point.

Posted by Anonymous | May 15, 2011 9:13 PM

Y'all are gullible hype eaters

Posted by Anonymous | May 15, 2011 9:27 PM

wow cool.

Posted by Jamie | March 11, 2014 12:55 PM

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