As an impossibly huge fan of Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s first album, The Dust of Retreat, imagine my excitement when I found that 2008 would bring not only a new album from the band, but two new albums. I was completely confused when the whole Animal!/Not Animal thing was first announced, but in short: after signing to major label Epic, the band brought forth Animal!, which was rejected for being too good and not as profitable as a band on a major label must be; instead of writing a new album, band says “fuck you,” digs out a bunch of B-sides, slaps it together as Not Animal; record label is happy with it, but band decides to release both.
With Animal being vinyl-only and me not owning a record player, I was nervous that I would have to settle for what the band viewed as their lesser work with the CD release of Not Animal. Fortunately, working in college radio is awesome and I was mailed a super rare promotional double-CD with both albums. Reflecting on how much that fucking ruled, I popped in Animal! first and, as much as I’d like to say I was totally floored, I wasn’t. It was no Dust of Retreat, but it was solid. The dreamy, pseudo-folk orchestral sensibilities were all there, but Animal! didn’t quite hit me emotionally the way their previous album had.
After a few times through Animal!, I’ll admit it was also intimidating to have another, almost completely different disc. There’s a few oldies that I don’t think were previously ever recorded properly, like crowd favorite “Broadripple is Burning” and “Real Naked Girls” as well as 5 duplicate tracks, but overall I felt conflicted about Not Animal. I mean, if the band clearly doesn’t care about these songs as much as the others, why should I? I might still need more time with it, so it’s entirely possible I may make another post a few months down the line taking all of this back.
2008 was also a significant year because it marked my first Margot show, which was an event in and of itself.
Back in the summer, Coheed and Cambria announced Neverender at Terminal 5 in New York City, a four-night event during which they would play one of their albums every night. I knew it was during CMJ, I only had enough money to buy tickets to see one night, and I only liked their first two albums, so I weighed my options and bought a ticket to see Second Stage Turbine Blade.
Of course, this is the same night of Margot’s CMJ show at the Bowery Ballroom. At first I just sighed and continued believing I’d never actually get to see them, but a few weeks before I left for CMJ a schedule was posted listing them as playing at midnight. Coheed only had one opener and started at 7, I could totally do both! So I did. The Coheed show let out at around 10, and after an arduous series of subway transfers, delays, and an eventual cab ride, I made it to Bowery Ballroom at 11:45 and prayed they were still letting in CMJ badgeholders.
Fortunately, the entire show was running a half hour late, and I was eventually let in at around 12:45 during Margot’s first song. They played beautifully, mixing together both old songs and newer ones, but the highlight of the night was the encore in which Richard Edwards came out by himself and played a few crowd requests. Mind you, he was absolutely shitfaced and could barely talk without slurring his words incomprehensibly, but he sang every note spot-on and didn’t miss a single chord.
Also there were these stupid drunk girls who kept trying to tell me jokes during their set, but I refuse to dignify their existence by writing about it here. Disregard that last sentence.
The show got out at around 2:30AM, and while it had been a long night and I was totally exhausted, I really couldn’t think of a better way to see them for the first time. Picture from my shitty camera phone.