Posted in music on October 22, 2012

by Andrew Sacher

Merchandise at Bowery Ballroom - 10/21/12 (via BrooklynVegan Instagram)

On Friday night (10/19) during CMJ, I made my way over to Brooklyn warehouse Villain, which has recently begun hosting shows, for Pitchfork's unofficial CMJ showcase. The venue's a pretty decent size, but with the wall running down the middle which separated the stage from the bar area, they could only let in 300 people. It's a nice location though, and they had great visuals for every artist, projecting footage of them performing blurred with trippy imagery onto the white wall behind the stage. I got there about a half hour before doors and was told that by the second act, the venue was at capacity, though with the always-crowded smoking pit and bar area, the crowd never felt too dense and it was easy to make your way to the front. I was there for about half the show and saw Angel Haze, Hundred Waters, Le1f, Daughn Gibson, Merchandise, and Holy Other. The whole lineup was great, but my main reason for going was to check out Merchandise, whose only other show this week was a post-CMJ show at Bowery Ballroom last night (10/21) (pictured above), so I'll start there.

Merchandise have been around for a few years, but they gained a significant more amount of attention this year with their impressive Children Of Desire album. And the tunes sound great on record, but the band are still without a permanent drummer and when they tried to pull it off with a drum machine at Villain on Friday, it just didn't cut it. I spent most of their set in the front and their amps were twice as loud as the drum machine (it was a bit better in the back). I've heard people like to mosh at Merchandise shows and there were a few attempts at a pit, but with such a lack of power in the band's sound, I couldn't see the motivation for one. And when frontman Carson Cox demanded the crowd "wake up," it was hard to really agree that the crowd was at fault here. To give credit where it's due, all three members of Merchandise who were on stage were great. They had totally driving bass, sharp guitar lines, and Carson's voice was just as romantic as it is on record and it's still the band's selling point -- they just need a drummer to give them the push they deserve.

A video of Merchandise from their set at the Pitchfork showcase is below.


Merchandise - "Become What You Are" at Villain - 10/19/12



Comments (23)


Posted by ee | October 22, 2012 1:45 PM

What am I watching here?

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 1:57 PM

Sorry to say they sucked last night opening for Wild Nothing. Either get a live drummer or totally rethink the whole approach.

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 2:21 PM

Was really looking to show last night and totally let down. Ive been to bowery enough and heard wild nothings set to know that the sound problem was not Bowery's fault

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 2:40 PM

hey how about a review of that Hundred Waters set? it was epic

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 2:43 PM

I really want to see them badly.

Posted by yes | October 22, 2012 3:10 PM

they started as a recording-only project. live version is still something of a work-in-progress...

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 4:06 PM

haters gonna hate. this was magical.

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 4:28 PM

2:43- hundred waters really did sound awesome! was also disappointed with Merchandise, glad I saw them but they need a drummer... maybe a hybrid of electronic and real drums, playing super-simple stripped down beats like their record is.

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 4:55 PM

a p4k hyped band disappoints? shocking..

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 5:07 PM

Just magical.

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 6:03 PM

Anyone who says they sounded bad last night at Bowery is full of it- they sounded as good as ever.

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 6:10 PM

i don't know what you're talking about - everyone standing around me audibly were talking about how bad they doesn't have anything to do with the Bowery either, they're a terrible live band currently. Not only is there a backing drum track, but there is a bass track also being used that totally muddles the whole sound of the band (not to mention it makes the live bassist look and sound silly)....

people like Jenn Pelly here are the only apologists for this band, and they're paid to promote the P4k shiite.

Great recorded band, terrible live band.

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 6:41 PM

Anybody here remember Eyeless In Gaza? That's who this singer reminds me of. Shame about the current live show though. Can't they get the drummer from Shox on the permanent payroll?

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 6:49 PM

I saw Merchandise at the Bowery. I can tell you a couple of honest things about it. I got to the show early and sat up on the 2nd level. The sound and their performance was really amazing. I have seen them before and I believe this was their best showing. However on the main level the sound was completely different. It felt like something was missing. I want to make the point that it was the same for Wild Nothing. They sounded great up top. But on the stage floor it felt like something was missing. Both were great. Not blaming the Bowery BUT...I noticed the speakers placed at the same level as the second floor. They did not angle down towards the stage floor. Maybe this was the reason for the lacking punch I felt upstairs.

Lastly I genuinely believe Merchandise is an incredible creative group. They have true performers charisma, attitude, and talent. They are raw and some people take that the wrong way. They are not clean an pretty like some of the other bands coming up. Some people are so prissy about music and expect it to be so perfect and sterile. Merchandise is not your gig if thats the case.

In my opinion....raw, honest, and clearly this is their sound. It is not assembled from studying some website and what it says we should listen to. I think there is a daring element to their music that is vacant in contemporary music. Great band. Also seem like very good people.

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2012 11:19 PM

merchandise are my fave band right now and i dont think theres any way around the fact that last night was really disappointing. it was literally the worst sounding show ive seen at bowery in two years. everyone i came with felt similarly. children of desire is an incredible record, and they do seem like very nice guys-but thats not the issue-they really need to work on the live setup. im willing and ready to love.

Posted by merchandise apologist | October 23, 2012 12:05 AM

if merchandise bummed you out, try their old bands cult ritual and neon blud. that should do the trick.

Posted by Anonymous | October 23, 2012 8:35 AM

A drummer ain't gunna save that steaming pile of horse shit. Merchandise are fucking terrible. Why are people sweating them? Because the singer is ripping off morrissey? They're an embarrassment.

Posted by Anonymous | October 23, 2012 3:46 PM

@11:19 quit sucking the dick, merch are fucking wack, the dudes in the band SUUUUCK and their label/manager is the biggest fuckwad cocky rich kid the in new york punk scene. I cant believe anyone's taking this seriously. Its a pretty straightforward joke.

Posted by Anonymous | October 23, 2012 3:51 PM

Your ideas was totally easy to get. Happy to find that there’s an person online that gets it precise what its is talking about.

Posted by Frequency | November 21, 2012 4:35 AM

Theres about maybe 10 interesting metal bands who have been around for a while out 10,000 or so that pop up every 50 mints lately.

Posted by Download Skype 2013 | December 10, 2012 7:58 PM

A drummer ain't gunna save that steaming pile of horse shit. Merchandise are fucking terrible. Why are people sweating them? Because the singer is ripping off morrissey? They're an embarrassment.

Posted by Learn Piano Free Software | June 7, 2013 10:56 PM

merchandise is a great band.

Posted by catering winnipeg | July 9, 2013 12:16 PM

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