It’s 2:30 in the morn, and we just pulled in from Tucson (about an hour-and-a-half drive). Forgive me if I don’t combine nouns and verbs and stuff in proper order.
After reading so much about this tour via the blogosphere, it was great to finally put my own eyes/ears on it. And I gotta tell ya: I’m not sure what the backlash is about. These are good bands. Why are some people (read: elitist snobs … you know who you are) so quick to embrace bands then chew ’em up and spit ’em out? Because they got popular? Because they signed to a label? Oh, no. More people found out about them and now they’re not your secret little band. Get over it.
Saying nothing against Tapes n Tapes and Figurines, because I enjoyed them both quite a bit, I think it was a unanimous decision among our group of four that Cold War Kids left a great impression. I’d really only been familiar with what I’d heard from their Web site, so I considered their energetic set a real pleasant surprise.
I was strangely obsessed with the Cold War bassist (anyone got a name?) and what appeared to be his nervous tics on stage. He seemed to tap out every drum beat on another band member’s arm or back with his off hand. (It reminded me a bit of Mike Doughty from his Soul Coughing days.) It was totally strange and also indicative of the group’s constant motion on stage. There was not a whole lot of standing still.
Figurines, as Chris pointed out from the Dallas show, were perhaps mis-slotted into the second spot. It’s probably asking a lot to follow Cold War Kids, who are a little more boisterous and kinetic.
Again, I become weirdly obsessed with more of the mannerisms/clothing of the group members than anything. Perhaps it’s a Danish thing to wear really taut shirts and pants? And boots (see below). And, oh, the hair. A lot of it. Big and feathery. If nothing else, Figurines put a skittish edge on their indie pop with great results. It translated nicely live, if not a little loudly. (The Rivalry, mp3).
And, yeah, that Tapes ‘n Tapes band, which was making its Arizona debut. (Why not Phoenix, Tapes ‘n Tapes? “Ask our booking agent,” they said. Bah!) The moments of heightened excitment live are the ones you might expect (at least for me): Just Drums, The Illiad, Insistor (mp3), 10 Gallon Ascots (dear lord, my new favorite).
If I may, I’ll put on my unprofessional music critic’s hat for a moment: I think they need a second guitarist. Just for some added oomph. On the next go-round, Tapes no doubt will be playing to bigger audiences in bigger venues. A little extra punch, I think, will go a long way with these songs.
That said, Josh Grier is an engaging frontman and the plethora of accompanying instruments (sleigh bells, tambourines, french horn? or was that a tuba?) brighten the sound as a whole. And, come on, is there a better opening bass line than the one on Cowbell (mp3)?
You might check out Tucson Scene for some pictures. I was lazy. My bad.
I’m going to bed.