Last night I saw niiice. at 7th Street Entry. The show was technically Last Import’s EP release party, but between reviewing their set at the Ugly Sweater Party last month and the review of their fantabulous new EP (Songs For Adam) that I’m currently working on, I decided that niiice. was the only band I felt like writing about today.
When I first saw niiice. live at the aforementioned Ugly Sweater Party, I had a good time, but the music itself didn’t quite click with me until last night. I think the venue was definitely a factor—I absolutely adore the Entry. I was a little bummed out that most of the crowd showed up after their set was finished, but on the other hand, more intimacy for me I guess. After all, standing front and center getting my face screamed at is my favorite way of experiencing live punk.
First, let’s talk lyrics. Every single goddamn time I hear that one “you can sleep on my floor/you can tell everyone that you’re my friend” line in “Home Alone 2”, I swear I tear up a little bit! Even though most of the music is pretty aggro, there’s a healthy sprinkling of kind, vulnerable little moments like that throughout, which adds a cool dimension to the whole thing.
Speaking of the music, the music is great too. Primarily built around peppy power chord progressions (plus a couple of freaky little drum flourishes & disjointed guitar melodies hiding here and there), but it just goes to show that if you’re creative enough, you can make music that avoids cliché out of just about any sonic palette you want, no matter how much used to death that particular palette happens to be (Gene Simmonses of the world take note: this is why any sort of “rock is dead” argument is utter BS). In a sense, I suppose that’s what good songwriting is all about. It’s just like “suspension of disbelief” in theater—pushing your audience into a zone where they can ignore any preconceived notions/critical biases about the “type” of music that they’re listening to (of which I have many, particularly in regards to punk) and simply enjoy it for what it is.
Anyways, whenever I encounter a band that pulls off what niiice. managed to pull off last night, I feel extremely lucky to be on the receiving end of things. I give them my highest of recommendations. Go check em out on Bandcamp or in concert A$AP.