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Few can compare to the enigmatic Clinic, a band I’ve followed since first hunting down their EPs like “Come Into Our Room” (2002) during weekends in London years back. It seems I’ve seen Clinic live more times than most bands, but their shows (and songs), which verge on strange, menacing hilarity, continue to draw me in. Naysayers be damned, there’s a lot more to this band than their surgical masks and matching outfits.

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Clinic takes the dimly lit stage and tonight, they’re wearing Hawaiian print shirts, perhaps inspired by the tropical themes bobbing in and out of songs on their latest disc, Do It!. Early on, singer/guitarist/etc. Ade Blackburn announces they’ll have two sets, which is odd, since on past tours, they’d play intense, speedy shows that didn’t last more than half an hour. Clinic hasn’t been to the U.S. in a while, so they must be giving fans a bonus. Sweet.

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The first set is all the new material, with standouts “Corpus Christi” and “The Witch (Made to Measure)” charged enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The carnivalesque “Coda” ends this half of the show on a dramatic note, peeling church bells rising above the surf punk din. As Blackburn has said in recent interviews, “it’s our Bruce Springsteen phase,” and they’ve built up enough of a back catalog to save all the older stuff for their second set. The packed house is treated to sing-along hits like “Harvest” and older crowd favorites “Walking With Thee” and “Harmony”.

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Buzzy openers Violens are in need of an image, but since some members had been part of Lansing-Dreiden, the music/art collective who never used press photos, maybe being anti-image is part of their statement. But hey, they’ve got Jorge Elbrecht, a singer with an impressive Morrissey-like voice.

Quite a few songs of their songs begin with edgy, chunky riffs that lead into wispy, Aztec Camera-ish mid-sections, which then funnel back into raw outros that leave you breathless. I wish they had more of the sinister parts and less of the 80′s pop, but perhaps they’re still finding themselves. As far as New York bands go, they’ve definitely got something going on.–Photos by Tear-n Tan