Tuesday, July 19th, 2005
Pernice Brothers live and Pernice Brothers on record have traditionally been two rather different propositions. The albums usually utilized a wide range of instrumental textures and orchestration that were difficult to reproduce live, so they were rearranged for a more rocking onstage delivery – just compare the album versions of earlier songs on the Nobody’s Listening live album. But with 2003’s Yours, Mine & Ours, Joe Pernice made the subtle but significant move of dispensing with strings and writing around a more conventional band structure. While the songs maintained his pop smarts and lyrical wit and melancholy, the musical component got more upbeat and electric guitar-driven. The latest album Discover A Lovelier You continues this trend, most obviously indulging Pernice’s love of 80s new wave and British indie.
So with the albums moving steadily towards the rock end of things, would that mean that the recordings and live shows would finally be reflections of one another? In a word, no. Based on last night’s show at Lee’s Palace, it would seem that they’re reining things in a little – the arrangements sounded a little thinner than usual. Maybe it’s that new drummer Patrick Berkery isn’t as aggressive on the kit as his predecessors Mike Belitsky and Ric Menck or maybe it that Joe chose to play exclusively acoustic guitar (though probably a wise choice considering how much he was sweating onstage – an electric would have shorted out within three songs). Whatever it was, the show started out disappointingly flat. The mix was exceedingly quiet, with vocals in particular buried and the opening few songs off Discover were rather laid back in delivery. The oppressive heat certainly didn’t help, as warm as it was in the audience it was surely many times hotter under the stage lights. Thankfully the band picked things up as the night progressed, though there were still some audible flubs and missed changes at a few points. By the end of the night, energy levels were considerably higher, Joe seemed to have given up trying to towel the sweat off his face and guitar and set closer “7:30” was as rousing as you would have hoped (though Peyton Pinkerton and James Walbourne’s backing vocals on the “ba ba ba” outro were still way too quiet).
It wasn’t the best performance of theirs I’d seen, but it still turned out decent enough for the modest Monday night crowd. The stagelights that were causing Joe to lose several pounds in sweat did allow for some decent photos, though. It’d been a little while since I’d shot a show in a club. Just like falling off a bike, which is something else I’ve had practice at lately. And thanks to Thierry of Let It Blog for pre-emptively informing me that the final song of the encore was “Doll in a Music Box”, from the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang soundtrack. This bit of trivia was given in exchange for never asking how he knew this.
Shows – Bloc Party are at The Docks September 12. Someone REALLY needs to open another medium-large venue in this town. Really. There’s something terribly wrong when you pine for the cozy environs of the Kool Haus. A good show in a good venue, for example, will be Bob Mould bringing his Body Of Song to the Mod Club on October 2. Also, Nada Surf are at Lee’s Palace on October 12 with Say Hi To Your Mom, tickets $13.50.
Pop (All Love) questions the shelf life of Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois, and nominates his own top 10 albums of recent years that Mojo will still be fawning over decades down the line. Tongue planted only lightly in cheek. I think.
Bradley’s Almanac has mp3s from Dinosaur Jr’s sort-of homecoming show in Boston from last Friday. He manages to make me feel bad that I was scrubbing dirt and grime off my balcony instead of having my eardrums demolished by J, Lou and Murph, but the audio is good and by God, that balcony is clean now. He also gives Jason Lowenstein some love – that contest from yesterday is still open, email me by, say, noon if you want to get on the guest list for tonight’s show. Only a couple spots left! Contest closed! Thanks for playing, winners, hope you enjoy the show. Come back tomorrow, I’ve got another one starting up.
np – Ride / Live at the Town & Country, London – March 1991