Sunday, September 12, 2010

Concert review: Mariage Blanc, Meeting of Important People, All Tiny Creatures

Mariage Blanc, Meeting of Important People, All Tiny Creatures
Saturday September 4, 2010 at Brillobox
with Leigh, Paul, Lisa

If Meeting of Important People play in town, I am definitely there. It seems like others around Pittsburgh agree with that, since it's always crowded no matter where they play, and this show was no exception. If there are other interesting bands playing, as well, I'll check them out. It seems like others around Pittsburgh don't necessarily agree with that, since the room tends to be far emptier before and after MOIP's set, and this show was no exception. Ahhhh, parallel constructions; they're my least unfavorite literary device, right up there with litotes and semicolons.

I had never heard of All Tiny Creatures and didn't know what to expect. The stage was pretty crowded, with 5 band members and plenty of synths and pedals and equipment, including an Apple laptop. Interestingly, the non-singing bassist was placed front and center while the two guys playing guitar/vocals were on either side, with the drummer and synth/laptop operator towards the back. Their songs were atmospheric and ethereal in effect, mostly, and it seemed like I could easily put them on and lay down on the couch for a strange, trippy nap. Every once in a while, a plunky little keyboard melody or some reverb-laden vocals would puncture their soundscape, but for the most part it was droning guitars and bass and synth with driving drums, building an atmosphere and pulling you into it. This made it hard to tell when their songs officially "ended", save for the bassist looking to the crowd and smiling knowingly, prompting a smattering of applause. Their set ended abruptly on an upnote, a fitting end to some long, swirling jams. I really dug it, and ended up buying their Segni EP on beautiful white 12" vinyl. The blurb on the sleeve mentions that band member Thomas Wincek is also a multi-instrumentralist in Volcano Choir, a side project of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who also contributes vocals on All Tiny Creatures' upcoming LP. Sweet, looking forward to that.

MOIP played next, interestingly; I expected them to play last since they were listed as a headliner on the bill, but I suppose some people tend to skip out before the end of the show. I definitely noticed that the Brillo's upstairs was totally packed for this part of the show, but rather spacious for the other two bands' sets. I've written about their live shows so many times before that I realized I'd have little to add in this review and instead focused my attention on jotting down the set list. This turned out to be more difficult than I imagined it would be, since they played a couple of new songs (yipee!) that were unnamed. So anyway, here's the list with a descriptor or two for the unnamed ones:
1) Nothing's Goin On
2) Leaving Here (orig. Eddie Holland, also covered by The Who)
3) Brittney Lane Don't Care
4) Innocents Abroad (new, Josh says it's their "Pitchfork song" haha)
5) I Know Every Street In This Town
6) Big Muscles (with backup vocals from Nik Westman who was in the crowd)
7) Single Girl, Married Girl (orig. The Carter Family) [acoustic]
8) Hanky Church [acoustic]
9) Pretzel Rod Blues (Riff Song)
10) Love (I think, at the very least they said that word like 40 times during the song)
11) We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (orig. The Animals)
12) Training Song --> lead into...
13) --> Dead Man
14) One O'Clock
I thought it was funny that Josh kept offering to buy drinks for anyone in the crowd who works for the Carnegie Museums, and that those people in the crowd kept yelling out "Miller!" to the drummer. Also, I think I kept hearing the name Cyndi Lauper in the lyrics of the "Innocents Abroad" song; maybe it's about her? Or maybe I completely misheard...

Mariage Blanc played last, and we stuck around until the end, although many others didn't. Sobeit. I've seen them before and they're all well and good, but it's honestly really tough to follow a MOIP set. Their songs are pretty solid and they sound good on album, but the live show is not overly exciting or engaging. They played a song or two from their previous EP (free download!) and a bunch from their forthcoming album. I'm looking forward to hearing that one, since I think the carefully-crafted arrangements and instrumentation will come across far better on recording than in a live setting, particularly at the perenially-chatty Brillobox.

All Tiny Creatures
MySpace, website, Twitter, Facebook
Live song at the Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis
Live songs at Hopscotch Music Festival, September 9, 2010
Blurb about "An Iris" on P4k

Meeting of Important People
MySpace, website, Twitter, Facebook
Fascinating interview with lead singer Josh Verbanets from the guys at Draw Us Lines.

Mariage Blanc
MySpace, Twitter, Facebook

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