Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Concert Review: Smith Westerns, Male Bonding

Smith Westerns, Male Bonding
Wednesday March 31 2010 at Brillobox
with Lisa

I saw the Smith Westerns at Gooski's back in September when they were first causing some internet buzz after releasing their debut epnoymous album. It was a great live show and I think Gooski's was the perfect place for it: a local music scene bar in Polish Hill, down in the back part of the bar, good acoustics for a small blocky room, crowded space. I saw they were coming here again, to the Brillobox, and they were giving away two tickets in the Opus One weekly contest. I usually enter one or two of their weekly giveaways and never win, but this time I did! We usually do pub quiz at the Brillobox on Wednesday nights, too, so I decided to split my time between upstairs and downstairs. I stayed downstairs for the first half of trivia then popped upstairs to catch some of Male Bonding (note the capitalization). They seem reasonably popular at the moment in the fuzz-pop lo-fi indie rock scene, and they've been signed to Sub Pop records, which is a big deal. I didn't know anything about them going into the show, and I wasn't unimpressed, but it was a pretty nondescript show. Perhaps it was the noticeably practically empty room (where was everybody?), and we only managed to catch 3 or so songs (apparently it was doors at 9, show at 9:30 which is 30 minutes ahead of the Brillo's usual schedule . . . odd), but I left thinking that it was just an upbeat live show and not really anything I'd find myself wanting to listen to later.

The Smith Westerns went next and played a super solid set, running through most of the songs on their album. The melodies are super catchy and the lyrics are so simple and fun that I almost wanted to sing along, if I knew them better . . . They have a surprisingly confident, yet withdrawn, stage presence, given that all of them are 18-20 years old; there's a certain swagger to their step and guitar strumming, but they hardly look at the audience and have no between-song banter. No matter! Their songs are great and snappy and fun.

Male Bonding:
”Perfect Day” (Lou Reed cover) with the Vivian Girls
“Pumpkin” live
”Years Not Long” live studio session

Smith Westerns:
”Girl In Love” music video
Live in Atlanta
”Be My Girl” live
Acoustic session

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