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Friday, January 25, 2008

A Good Dose of Rock

Last night A Bell and I drove up to Baltimore to see The Walkmen. And Dan. And Boyce's moustache. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I kind of, sort of, am a little bit into The Walkmen. Just a touch.

Anyhow, first of all, let me just say that Ottobar is a fantastic venue. Despite the overwhelming smokiness (it's sort of astonishing. they even banned smoking in the stage area and limit it to back rooms, but it is still just dank and gross. I never smell even remotely that bad after leaving a bar in VA. Maybe Galaxy Hut just has better ventilation?), it is pretty much ideal. A spacious bar area where you can sit and mingle, watch what's going on on stage, or if you don't have a good eye-line, watch it on the tv that's feeding the show to the bar. You can watch from the floor, or the balcony, which puts you about a foot away from the band that's playing and lets you sit down to enjoy it all up close and personal. Oh: and tickets were $12, and drinks were cheaper than all hell. I really, really like Ottobar.

Also: There was far less neon than I was expecting for a concert in Dan Deacon-ville. I guess The Walkmen draw a pretty monochromatic crowd.

I also really, really liked all three bands that played last night. It was a really well-chosen bill -- the three bands complimented each other perfectly. The Subjects were first up, and though I didn't watch their entire set, I heard it all and was quite impressed. They sound like White Rabbits (get to them in a minute) meets Jukebox The Ghost (btw: go see them tomorrow night at the Black Cat if you can. I can't. But totally would if I could, because they're great.).

Next up was White Rabbits, an NYC six piece that can't get a review without being compared to The Walkmen. And for good reason. The jangly instrumentation, focus on percussion and Leithauserian inflection leave them little room to expand on The Walkmen model. Hell, they even dress like them. But they take that rough, dark, classic rock approach and add a lightness and energy all their own. Half of the band (half!) is dedicated to percussion -- two full drum kits*, and a bassist who sometimes takes to the stand alone snare. They all have reaaaaaaaally nice instruments -- gorgeous Gibson guitars and a really sweet Nord keyboard (used in accompaniment with a piano). And they're just the prettiest things you ever did see. And could probably all fit in my pocket. Tiny skinny preppy boys that really know how to pack a punch. They've also managed to find two vocalists who sound almost identical to one another, which gives their songs a sort of choral effect. Highly recommend their album, Fort Nightly, and recommend their live show even more than that. I liked, very much. I even bought a tshirt. Which, stunk of smoke so I have to wash it before I wear it.

Then my pals took the stage and ripped through a really short set (can't blame them, last night of the tour) comprised of mostly new material. A few of these songs they've been kicking around since 2006, so I'm familiar with them, but some of them were new to me and I really liked what I heard. No horn section this time around, so it was more classic Walkmen type stuff. I really enjoyed it. I think I've mentioned this before, but "I Lost You" is the freakin hotness and I cannot wait for that album so I can listen to a studio version on repeat for days. They only played a few older songs, and didn't play "The Rat," and surprisingly, I heard no one in the crowd yell for it either. One cry for "Thinking of a Dream I Had," but aside from that it was a very receptive audience. Go Baltimore!

Unrelated: My dad was totally at this show.

*So hot right now

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