No Age’s exodus out of the L.A. Smell scene into the larger taste-made universe is even more auspicious for the fact that their sound is more timeless than timely. When everyone else is busy dabbling in afro-clash and new kinds of irony, the duo opts to iron punk’s ragged remains and cut out a few patches. While they keep a white-noise board on hand, the static breakdowns are more transitional than compositional, a cowry of cultural currency that doesn’t necessarily need to be there, even if it makes the band look cooler.
No Age did look pretty cool, though, Friday night at the South Street Seaport. Kind of amazingly, their fans, a lot of whom might be prepubescent, are completely crazy, moshing like bros, climbing over barriers, patting red-faced guards on the head. It’s a wild vibe, kind of like wandering into the edgiest mall in Burlington. If the blogosphere can make music like this teeny-boppable, then I’m all for the inevitable after school special. No Age indeed.
The band held up their end of the bargain pretty well. The stripped down combo sound works better in the open air then many of the Seaport’s past choices, and the whole thing was scuzzy and loud without dissolving into the fuzz puddle I’ve come to expect from the venue. No Age didn’t talk a lot, but when they did, they seemed very polite. No one threw anything, and the duo invited us all to Death by Audio after the gig. A Place to Bury Strangers didn’t do that a couple weeks ago, and they fucking live there.
But with aww-factor comes the prospect of backlash. I could feel it brewing under the sea of fresh faces in HEALTH shirts, in the sweat-drenched security holding them back. When the unmarketable is suddenly fielding questions about Fall Out Boy, more than a few fans are going to feel like their baby has been dropped out the window. No Age are growing up. Catch them while they’re hot.
Photo by Ben Lasman