Thursday, May 7, 2009

Where to go? Who to see?

Cleveland hipsters have a tough choice to make come this Sunday. After spending Mother's Day brunching and being reminded just how bourgeois they really are, they are going to need somewhere to re-muss their hair and listen to some indie rock. Problem is, the options on Sunday are too good.

OK, that's not really a problem, but we live music folk in Clevo are faced with two very good choices: either the Papercuts/Vetiver show at the Grog Shop or the Thao & the Get Down Stay Down show at the Beachland.

To be honest, I may be most torn of anyone. I've seen Vetiver a couple times now, and they put on a lot more lively a show than you'd expect from their albums. Plus, Papercuts song "John Brown" of their Can't Go Back album is one of my all time favorites, one I'd give quite a lot to see performed live.

At the same time Thao is the latest Pitchfork darling, and not without reason. Her cute performance of smart lyrics, with a light upper register backing band is infectious, optimistic, and perfect for summer.

Plus, the opening act for that show is no joke, either. Actually, opener Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers is quite compelling. Listening to her music, I can't but help envision a mix of Victoria Bergstrom and Jessica Lea Mayfield, except Choctaw. I was really surprised about the Choctaw part, as I could've sworn I heard something northern European in her voice, but soulful throatiness is not geographically limited to any one place, and Crain is living proof that Oklahoma (or is it Missouri?) is in on the action, too.

Her recently released record, Songs In The Night, strikes me as more upbeat and rounded out than the typical forlorn singer-songstress genre, but there is still enough standard countrified and lovelorn misery to put some lyrical depth in her performance.

The band mostly sits back and supports the vocals, but I learned a long time ago that such passivity doesn't always manifest in the live show. If they bring it live bands such as Vetiver and the boys backing Phosphorescent have in previous shows I've seen this spring, it'll make missing 4 1/2 minutes of "John Brown" about as OK as possible.

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