The Morning Benders @ Governors Island (Free Show, 6/19/2010)

By Will Oliver, June 20th 2010 — with 18 comments Concert Reviews

After tonight, I have now seen The Morning Benders 4 times. With each passing show, I can’t help but notice that the morning benders have improved tremendously. That isn’t to say that they didn’t impress me when I saw them open for The Kooks way back in June, 2008, because they most certainly did. The benders free show at Governors Island proved that they are growing bigger and better with every passing day, keeping their stay as one of my favorite bands at the moment.

I debated on heading to the show after multiple friends had to cancel on me, but decided I wasn’t going to miss a free benders show because others would. The ferry ride was really refreshing. I forgot how nice the open water is. The view of NYC reminded me of gold old All Points West. I got to the venue and decided to relax right up front, reserving myself one of the best seats in the house. It turns out someone I knew was right there too, so I didn’t have to attend the show solo after all. I also ended up sorta meeting (it was more of a simple wave/hello) Confusion from the excellent Pigeons and Planes.

Wild Nothing opened the night with a blistering set of tunes that had me groovin’. I still have to listen to their debut album, but after their set I am not going to waste too much time on getting that done. They played a tight set that had the crowd moving. The band worked some pretty great guitar rifss/basslines that sounded great outside. There was a group of annoying teenagers standing behind me who absolutely shit the bed during Wild Nothing’s set. They apparently knew all the guys from Wild Nothing and decided that screaming, pushing, and being a belligerent drunkard was the way to establish this. Thankfully the main drunk girl left after their set. I hope to never have the pleasure of meeting her again.

Freelance Whales were up next, and I had high hopes for their set. I spent some decent time with their debut album, Weathervanes, last fall. I hoped that the songs would have the same life live as they did on record. The band was good, but not great. The beginning and end of their set was great, but the middle fell flat for me. I started to doze off and become impatient for the benders. Some of the songs just lacked the charm that they had on record. However, the band has some serious talent, and they did have some really cool moments live. Overall I liked the band live, but it wasn’t quite what I hoped or expected.

The Morning Benders played an incredible set the last time I saw them at The Music Hall Of Williamsburg. I didn’t think they would be able to top it, but the did. With the devastatingly beautiful backdrop of NYC accompanying them, there was nothing but good vibes floating all round their performances. The band opened with “Stitches”, one of my favorite Big Echo songs. The song just dazzles live, creating a dark, heavy, psychedelic atmosphere that is too much too handle. The band then kicked up more Big Echo gems like “Promises” & “Wet Cement” that simply find ways to sound even better live than they do recorded. Chris Chu and his brother Jon fill in all the empty spaces with fine guitar riffs that remind me of the Arctic Monkeys Humbug-era live shows. After a lovely take of “Mason Jar”, the band played a great cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams”. The guys nailed it down so well that one wouldn’t be at fault for mistaking the song as a morning benders original.

That wasn’t the only cover that they did. The band also covered Joy Division’s “Ceremony”, which Chris said was one of his favorite songs. The band kicked up their dancing shoes for “All Day Daylight” & “Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)”, both of which find a new life live. The set ended with the always incredible “Excuses” which brought a huge singalong from the crowd. The band couldn’t hide their smiles during the performance. Even they know they have a classic under their belts.

The night was over, but everyone was all smiles. We got a solid 3 hours of great music, for free. Why wouldn’t you be smiling? I was lucky enough to grab both setlists. The Benders set was changed a bit from what was written. They had an encore of Grab A Stranger/Ceremony planned but scratched the encore but added Ceremony to the set.

With that said, I do have to make note of the crowd. I am only 19 years old, but I know for a fact that I don’t disrupt people with my behavior at shows (aside from my tall frame, which would have the people standing behind me saying otherwise). There were some really annoying kids standing behind me. I was front and center, so if you were there also, you know who I am talking about. They pushed and shoved at points, yelled, screamed, made callow comments with every other breath. Their childish behavior ruined the show for me at times, and it shouldn’t be tolerated. I don’t know why people have to act like this at shows. Hopefully these group of kids won’t come to your next show. Now I know why venue’s have 18+/21+ age restrictions.

Photos posted below as well as the morning benders/freelance whales setlists:

The Morning Benders:

1. Stitches
2. Promises
3. Wet Cement
4. Mason Jar
5. Dreams (Fleetwood Mac Cover)
6. Hand Me Downs
7. Pleasure Sighs
8. Ceremony (Joy Division Cover)
9. Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)
10. All Day Daylight
11. Excuses

Freelance Whales:
1. Hannah
2. Location
3. Generator ^ First Floor
4. Starring
5. Ghosting
6. We Could Be Friends
7. Kilojoules
8. Generator ^ Second Floor

Photos of the setlists:

The Morning Benders:

Freelance Whales:

Wild Nothing:

  • a name is a name

    “There were some really annoying kids standing behind me. I was front and center, so if you were there also, you know who I am talking about. They pushed and shoved at points, yelled, screamed, made callow comments with every other breath. Their childish behavior ruined the show for me at times, and it shouldn’t be tolerated. I don’t know why hipsters have to act like they are the coolest people in the world”

    isn’t bashing hipsters kind of cliche? it’s such an empty term now anyways. you are describing a bunch of young immature/annoying kids who were probably wearing clothing from american apparel or urban outfitters. castigating “hipsters” as a whole, for one immature group of people, makes little sense.

  • Will

    I call them hipsters because they were trying to seem cool and funny to everyone by making dumb comments on everything. They tried to make fun of everything from the bands, to the crowd. I don’t even remember what they were wearing, because that isn’t necessarily what makes someone a hipster. I called them “hipsters” because they had the mentality of someone who is trying to be different, just to be cool.

    They made themselves stand out by doing odd dances that clearly irritated everyone in their immediate area. They had no trouble hiding their smiles while doing so, giving of the impression that it was fun for them.

    That’s what I meant. Point being, they ruined parts of the gig for many.

  • Nina

    Hi! This is going to be an extremely bizarre/long-winded message. But. I’m 99.9% sure I was standing directly behind you (adjacent, UNFORTUNATELY, to those drunk/obnoxious people) at this show! I got to the venue about 2.5hrs before the show. I’m sure you saw me; when everyone was sitting, waiting for the show to start, I was sitting directly across from you. So anyway, a friend told me about this blog a few weeks ago (at least I think that’s what happened; either way, it’s in my Google Chrome bookmarks…), and I check it periodically, and when I read this bit about the MB I realized the author had to be the person standing in front of me (the tall frame comment, the front-and-center comment, mentioning the obnoxious audience members nearby, and the awesome pictures — obviously a result of that awesome camera you had). Well, if this isn’t random enough, I overheard you telling the people next to you that you go to Binghamton — and I go there too! I’m from Jersey, so my attention is always grabbed when I hear Bing mentioned, since it’s not talked about a lot in Jersey (my poor untrained ear.) It’s a crazy small world after all.

    I’d also like to apologize if I was a disruption during the show. I’m generally a quiet person, but I get hyper-excited at concerts. :-X Also, I usually don’t talk out-of-turn at concerts once the music has started, but I couldn’t help but complain A LOT to my friend about those obnoxious people. I’ve been to a number of concerts, and that girl screaming AT my friend, inches from her face, was my worst experience at one to date. Everyone else surrounding me was perfectly pleasant, though. With regards to your “tall frame, which would have the people standing behind me saying otherwise”, I would like to say that, despite one heat-of-the-moment (yet still tactless) comment I made (I’m really sorry for that) you didn’t disrupt my experience in the least. You have just as much a right as anyone else to get to the venue early and snag a front-row spot!

    erm, this is so random. But I couldn’t resist. :-X

    Awesome pictures, by the way. And you’ve seen the MB 4 times! That’s great. This was my first time. I’m a relatively new fan…

  • Nina

    I’ll stop being so completely random soon, I promise, but wasn’t “DRINK THE BUSHWICK!!!!” the most epic statement of the night? ha.

  • a name is a name

    not to be redundant but what you are describing is ANNOYING people not HIPSTERS (whatever the fuck you take the term to mean). i just think the whole hating-on-hipsters-shtickt is annoying. i’ve been called a “hipster” because of the way i dress and because of the music i listen to. if i’m going to be thrown into this group for those reasons, i might as well defend it when people launch baseless attacks at a group.

  • Will


    WOW that is strange haha. Yeah that was me, and I do believe I saw you as well. What a coincidence! What year are you at bing?

    Anyway, you weren’t the one I was complaining about lol. I myself complained about those kids to the people I was next to multiple times. You didn’t do anything at all. My whole complaint is in regards to that group of people to your right. You most certainly know who I am referring to. You didn’t do anything at all!

    I will admit, the “bushwick” comment was pretty funny.

  • Will

    @ “a name is a name”, fair enough. I’m usually not one to give people titles/judge, so I will admit my mistake. I took hipster out of the article. I’ll let everyone else use their imagination. :-p

  • Gilberto

    I totally get that in a concert you’re almost inevitably going to be pushed and annoyed a little bit. But I think that in these free concerts people exaggerate. I didn’t see Morning Benders, but in the Yeasayer concert a few weeks ago, there were a group of people just like the ones you described. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun, but I wanted to punch those drunk assholes at times.

  • Will


    Yeah it is to be expected that some people will dance, push, shove etc.. thats fine. And if you have had some to drink and are a bit loud and happy, thats cool too. But there are always people that take it way too far, and just ruin it for others. Thats when it becomes an annoyance.

  • Nina

    Hahaaa, that makes me feel so much better. I hate to be “that person”. -.-

    I just finished my freshman year at Bing. You?

    I almost didn’t go to the MB concert for the same reason..No one could come with me. But in the end it became possible, and I’m so happy it did. The show was really awesome, as was the whole on-an-island-with-the-NYC-skyline-in-view experience!

    Again, your pictures are really, really great. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  • Will

    Yeah, I get a lot of annoying looks from people behind me, but it’s sort-a out of my hands that I’m tall.

    I just finished my sophomore year. Just went up to my house up there yesterday actually. Can’t wait to live off campus. You should find me on facebook btw!

    I’ve learned you shouldn’t miss shows even if you have to go alone. A good gig is a good gig. Plus, you never know who you may meet at a show.

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. I was really happy with how well some of them came out.

  • Nina

    Better to be the tall person than the short person. 😛

    I just found you on the ol’ ‘book. We have three mutual friends — small world, eek. That’s awesome that you’re living off campus…I’m still a loyal Hinman foot-soldier. As for going to shows by myself, it’s mainly a matter of being lonely, haha. Luckily I have a lot of friends who will do crazy things with me for concerts!

  • Will

    Very true! It does suck going to shows alone, but now that I have this blog running it has become less of an issue for me. It’s almost like a part time job at times! Or at least it feels that way.

    Yeah, it really is a small world. I’ve been having weird coincidences like this a lot recently. Strange..

    Hinman was my favorite dining hall by far. So that’s cool. I was stuck in the new Bingham with all the greek life peeps. It sucked. It’s going to be good to live off campus. My own room, no more greek life in my hall, and best of all, we can host our own party’s. Plus, its a cheaper option.

  • Nina

    Well, this blog is really cool, so it must be a fun “job”.

    I’ve also had a lot of weird coincidences since coming to Bing. I feel like there are a lot of strange connections between people and events. I think Bing’s just the right size where it’s big enough to seem big, but small enough for stuff like this to happen.

    Hinman DOES have the best dining hall! But yeah, Greek life’s not my cup of tea, which is why I put Newing low on my preferences. But hey, Bingham seems ridiculously nice. I snuck in once… As for being off-campus, I’m definitely considering it for junior/senior year. Having my own room would be great, and yep, it seems like it’d be a lot of fun!

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