Last night, as mentioned previously on this virtual island in the internet ocean, was a major dilemma for Clevo indie rock concertgoers.
In my superficial analysis of the NEO indie tea-leaves (i.e., figuring out where the writers of the various music blogs in town decided to go), it seems like a three-way tie between Thao, Vetiver, and ambivalence. Citizen Dick and I Rock Bill (I think) hit up the Vetiver/Papercuts show (check out the good review of that one by one of the resident Citizen Dicks here), while the Sensory Overload duo kicked it with me at the Thao show. I'm not sure what Only Music Left Roger did, but I'm pretty positive Addicted To Vinyl Matt stayed home and search fruitlessly for David Hasslehoff import B-sides.
I was really torn about missing Papercuts, especially since I expected (as the Dicks confirm) them to rip the heart out of my favorite song of the decade, "John Brown." BUT, and this is a serious but, they dudes at the Grog couldn't possibly have seen a better one that we winners at the Beachland did.
I met up with the aforementioned duo in the Beachland parking lot and we walked in just in time to catch the beginning of Samantha Crain's set. The Oklahoma siren was great, playing through the contents of her new album with zest. She's really a sight on stage, with her outsize animation offsetting her diminutive stature. Her performance was so compelling I was all set to drop the meager $10 cash in my pocket on her album, but wisely decided to wait until the next band, Canadian act Sister Suvi played, before hitting the merch table.
Before Sister Suvi went on, the crowd was quiet and sedate. It was clear everyone enjoyed Crain and co., but not to the extent that they were going to leave their seats. There aren't many seats in the Beachland Tavern, but being an early set on a holiday Sunday night with another big show in the Heights, you won't be surprised to hear that everyone there for the first act managed to find a place to sit. Interestingly enough, after I went in I went over to the restroom and, upon returning to the Tavern area, grabbed a seat at the end of the bar, with an unobstructed side view of the stage. I was quickly told that I had actually sat in the seat next to the one Thao had been occupying, and her purse and a box of herbal supplements were still sitting there. I momentarily wondered if that made me a creepy person, but decided that while I probably am one in general, I was not specifically so in this case, as I had no idea the singer had been sitting there before I plopped down.
By the time she came back out, Sister Suvi was all tuned up and starting their set, which began with a cool rendition of their tune, Desolation, off their new album Now I Am Champion (I know this, because after being outlandishly impressed by the band, I bought their album instead). Thao and her guitarist quickly lost patience with the still-sitting crowd and decided to lead by example, jumping to stand right in front of the stage. Hipster sheep in the audience quickly followed suit, though the band probably didn't need Thao's help as within moments they were putting out some multi-influenced, dynamic rock that had everyone up and moving toward the stage. They played for about 45 minutes, with a STRONG final three tracks, which included "Agua," the track that sold me on buying their record, with the drummer's Daniel Smith/Jason Lytle-esque vocals and the swiveling, rotating nature of the jam.
Eventually Thao took the stage, striking in a yellow (and non-functional, as she announced) dress she'd bought downstairs at This Way Out, and the once empty floor filled. She is quite a performer, one of those that makes me want to take one more crack at learning guitar, not because she's obnoxiously proficient, but because she makes the whole thing look like so much fun, singing and smiling and hoofing all over the stage. The crowd got up and stayed up (bad pun, sorry) for the set, but the crowd response to the "hits" was particularly effusive, especially that one from the detergent commercial.
I have to admit I didn't stay for the whole set, as it got really hot in there, and instead went downstairs to talk politics and vintage hats with David from The Very Knees. I probably missed the middle third of the show, and though that was likely stupid, I caught the triumphant conclusion with members of both opening acts on stage getting down with the Get Down (seriously, how bad am I at this pun thing?) and just sonically freaking the fuck out with a smiley face.
I left happy and content with my choice. And that's all you can really ask.
Note: I am a terrible photographer, if you didn't already know this. I assure you that in real life, all of these people are far more attractive and far less blurry than they appear in the pictures above. I am done with the shitty camera on my iphone. Next paycheck, I'm gonna burn a hundred bucks on a different shitty camera.
3 years ago