This Weekend In New York: Habibi, Natural Child, Liturgy, And Zola Jesus Bring Catharsis To Manhattan


In Waste Of Paint, our writer/artist team of Jamie Peck and Debbie Allen will review goings-on about town in words and images.

This weekend we found ourselves in the rare situation that all the shows we wanted to see were in "the city": one at the Lower East Side's anachronistically good Cake Shop, the other at hulking mega-club Webster Hall. Maybe it's time to remove that "give Manhattan back to the Indians" pin from my messenger bag.

Debbie Allen

Friday we hit up Cake Shop for a bill of bands all loosely associated with the American garage-punk scene, or whatever you want to call it. Following a grungy set from Dead Stars, Habibi took the stage. Fronted by the shyly charismatic Rahill Jamalifard, they delivered a competent set of midtempo guitar pop steeped in nostalgia, both in form ('60s girl group harmonies) and content ("the leaves are changing"). They could have moved around a bit more—that Vivian Girls circa '09 stiffness seems to affect a disproportionate number of new female artists, maybe because women are disproportionately likely to be accused of poor musicianship—but their catchy melodies generated enough energy to get heads bopping, and bits of feminist satire like "she's a tomboy, tomboy/ she's got herself an ego, ego" seemed descended straight from Bikini Kill.

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