Boy Morgan, Youngman Grand

Late Show

Boy Morgan

Youngman Grand

Tue, December 4, 2012

Doors: 9:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

This event is 21 and over

Boy Morgan - (Set time: 10:30 PM)
Boy Morgan
While music nerds the world over trade deep-cuts for currency, grow asthmatic from skulking around dollar record bins, or eviscerate their social skills chasing one too many You Tube k-holes in search of the new, the strange, and the obscure, Boy Morgan keeps it simple: Their Beatles albums are always in heavy rotation and they write catchy pop songs that aren't afraid to openly celebrate their biggest influence. (Their shows close with the occasional Beatle bow, and-here's a stick in the eye to all those who would banish playfulness from rock music: they pull it off, and even make it look cool, the way that one guy you know somehow manages to keep a moustache without presenting as ironic.) At the hands of another group of musicians, this approach could fall flat, however (yes, like a certain group of Liverpudlians you may know) these five friends complement each other in such a way that the style they emulate is easy to recognize, but entirely fresh. Boy Morgan's aesthetic is so straightforward-so obvious, in a way-that in today's musical climate, it's almost punk rock.

Last year, Spoon drummer Jim Eno heard Boy Morgan's self-titled EP, released on the band's own Check It! Records: five songs on which all members trade vocals, songs that stay in your head and demand repeat plays. He invited the band to record at Public HiFi, his Austin studio. The session picked up where the EP left off: rounded out with the rich, yet spare, production Eno is known for. These tracks will be released later this year as a single.

Nadir Naqvi and Fowzy Butt, Boy Morgan's two guitar players, hail from the rock n roll wasteland of Karachi, Pakistan. In high school, Naqvi-one of a handful of rock musicians in the city-became a local guitar legend, playing Zeppelin and Queen covers in hotel bars devoid of alcohol and women. Fowzy grew up on the other (wrong) side of the tracks devouring fuzzed out VHS tapes of 1980s MTV. On opposite sides of town, the two obsessed about London (via Q Magazine) and America (via Spin and Rolling Stone) and got sent home from school for their shaggy haircuts. The two met at Bennington College in Vermont and have been playing together ever since. They currently live in New York's East Village.

As a kid, drummer Ben Trokan lived a few blocks away, on 14th Street. At a young age, he was already a fixture on New York's music scene, having played guitar in a late incarnation of Marky Ramone's band when he was still in high school. (In his spare time, he borrowed his mom's Oldsmobile to drive Dee Dee to gigs.) But Trokan is best known for fronting NYC's Robbers on High Street, and, more recently, for backing the likes of Greg Cartwright and Lee Fields.

Center stage, is Morgan King, who, along with Fowzy, hid out in a Brooklyn rehearsal space for months, writing and recording several songs before assembling the line-up that had long been Fowzy's dream team, his own personal Traveling Wilburys. King, who became "boy" Morgan to avoid confusion when Trokan started dating "girl" Morgan, is one of the most sought after bass player in New York City. He plays in Robbers with Trokan, and has toured and recorded with the likes of Longwave and Blonde Redhead.

But Boy Morgan's secret weapon is Mitchell Wareham, the product of a classic rock n roll conundrum: We love this guy, he's fun at parties, likes to dance, but he plays guitar like a ham-fisted chimp. A tambourine and a few hand-claps later, Boy Morgan has a killer percussionist. Dancing around next to the drum kit, Mitch looks like he's having the most fun ever at the best party ever. Mitch makes the occasional vocal cameo; during, for example, the build-up/breakdown at the end of a live cover of Nick Lowe'sWhat's So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding, one of several covers that amp up the band's live set. This is the prevalent mood at the band's live shows: even when the lyrics lean towards the occasional bum out, the songs are poppy enough to keep people moving.

At many of these shows, Fowzy calls out his bandmates' names during the instrumental break in My Sweet Baby, a love song in the vein of Oh, Yoko with a trio of up-tempo pop hooks. He ends this bit with a nod to his buddy at the front of the stage: "He is, and we are, Boy Morgan." And that's perhaps the trick to forming a great band and writing great songs: Take the music you love the most, let it do what it does best, then coax your best friends away from their other bands with promises of beer, Beatles, and Mitch.
Youngman Grand - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
Youngman Grand
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002