Smith Westerns, Male Bonding
Wednesday March 31 2010 at Brillobox
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 They have a surprisingly confident, yet withdrawn, stage presence, given that all of them are 18-20 years old; there's a certain swagger to their step and guitar strumming, but they hardly look at the audience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.
”Perfect Day” (Lou Reed cover) with the Vivian Girls
”Years Not Long” live studio session
”Girl In Love” music video
Live in Atlanta
”Be My Girl” live