Tuesday, October 19th, 2004
Saturday Looks Good To Me the studio band and Saturday Looks Good To Me the live band are two very different propositions.
Hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan (is it bad form to call Ann Arbor Detroit?), the former is a massive collective effort (the last two albums featured 27 and 19 different credited players and singers, respectively) masterminded by Fred Thomas, creating massively ornate, unapologetically retro-sounding pop in the spirit of Motown, Brian Wilson and Phil Spector. The use of a large cast of singers makes the records sound more like long-lost mix tapes found in the back seat of a 1969 Chevelle.
The live experience, on the other hand, varies depending on who can come out on the road with them. Their show last July at Rancho Relaxo was as bare bones as could be, with Thomas fronting a three-piece unit that rearranged the songs into highly-charged fuzzy pop blasts that while entertaining, didn’t do the recordings justice. To their credit, they did the best they could and did put on an entertaining show, but if you’d heard the albums you couldn’t help but be a little bit disappointed.
This time around, however, they got it totally right. The six-piece touring band comprised all the main players who recorded Every Night and the difference they made was night and day. The most key addition was of Betty Marie Barnes to handle all the female vocals on the album (as well as provide some nice visual benefits… read: she’s a cutie) – I couldn’t imagine numbers like “The Girl’s Distracted” or “Underwater Heartbeat” without the boy/girl duets. In addition, the saxophone and separate bassist and keyboardist (last time it was one guy, the saxophonist, ironically, who handled both duties) really filled out the sound and brought the album arrangements to life.
The turnout was pretty meagre, to be expected for a Monday night, but the band put on a terrific show regardless – my butt was bopping pretty much the whole night. Thomas was oddly charming as frontman, though not as hyperactive as last time around, and full props to Scott DeRoche who, despite breaking the e-string on his bass three-quarters of the way through the set, still managed to finish the show by tuning the a-string down a fifth and playing everything on one string. That’s impressive. I highly recommend anyone who can catch this tour while it’s still going – they’re in Canada for the next few days:
Oct 19, 2004 @ Irene’s Pub – Ottawa, ONT
Oct 20, 2004 @ El Salon – Montreal, QBE
Oct 21, 2004 @ The Underground – Hamilton, ONT
Oct 22, 2004 @ Call The Office – London, ONT
I only arrived in time to catch the second opener, Picastro. Their PJ Harvey/Cat Power-esque droney narcolepsy-core was an odd match for SLGTM’s buoyant retro-pop, but they kept their set short so it didn’t throw off the mood too much. Don’t get me wrong – I like some of what Picastro does, but it just wasn’t the sort of thing I was in the mood for last night.
Photos from the show here.
…So I missed The Daily Show last night, on account of being at the aforementioned concert. Anyone know where I can find a downloadable copy of it? It hasn’t shown up on bit torrent yet.
Comic book fans will be pleased to know that the Miracleman drama is apparently finally over. While on the road, Neil Gaiman confirmed that the series would be returning to stores within 18 months or so courtesy of Marvel, presumably in the form of trades collecting both Alan Moore and Gaiman’s legendary runs on the title, and the conclusion of “The Silver Age” storyline. There’s some question as to whether it will return as Miracleman or Marvelman, seeing as how the latter was the character’s original name and it was only changed when Marvel – the same company who will be publishing it – complained in the 80s.
Hamsters piloting giant robot hamsters to combat evil make me happy. From Gizmodo.
There is a courtyard of naked men at the club/lounge outside my office window. They appear to be shooting something. It’s like 6 degrees Centigrade out there – not very flattering weather. The girls in my office have gone to take pictures regardless. A very perplexing way to start the morning.
np – Charlotte Hatherley / Grey Will Fade