Friday, February 16, 2007

Unbuckled: 2/15/07

Well, the DCist had their Unbuckled show last night. After downing a few Sparks Plus on the walk over, my fellow Rockists and I grabbed some cool, refreshing cans of Schlitz and settled in for a quaint evening of music. Did I say quaint? I meant to say "a soul-soothing set of songs" followed by a face melting rock show. We really didn't know what to expect but if we would have expected anything, those expectations would have been exceeded.

Rob: Jesse Elliot (These United States) reminded me of a new age crooner; a young, indie Sinatra. Every girl in the audience was fixated on him as he stared above the crowd . I have to admit, there were probably some guys who were smitten with him too. If you've heard the music on their myspace page, you weren't surprised by their sound. It seem as though they didn't diverge from their recorded versions. (My grammar is very much lacking right now, mainly because it hurts to think. My apologies.)

Um, Pela rocked. Lead man Billy McCarthy exhumed all emotions while belting out his self-proclaimed "pastoral punk" songs. After playing for what seemed to be hours while only feeling like minutes, they were even nice enough to play a couple extra songs after their set. I really enjoyed them. I can't speak for the rest of TRS, but I will be first in line when their album comes out April 24. Oh, and the crowd was far better than the Apples show.

GH: Rob, a "young, indie Sinatra"? Maybe Sparks Light for you next time (sidenote: I had no idea the Sparks Plus was supposed to be a different flavor -- grape -- than the regular stuff. I guess I just figured it tasted different because of the Plus). These United States were decent, had some good tunes, played well together. I kinda didn't go for Elliot's constant affectation. Having read the gospel of Craig Finn, I get kind of annoyed with singers that don't use voices or accents that come naturally (as I say this, I think of roughly 20 bands I like that stand as exceptions). The lap steel was nice though, and towards the end the cold-blooded bassist started adding some harmony parts that changed things up a little.

As for Pela, really good performance. Genuinely affable guys who worked hard, were happy to be there, and show a lot of promise. They seemed to be sorta in to the Arcade Fire, too. I was waiting for some random dude wearing a bike helmet to start hacking away on a Pringles can like the world depended on it. I must admit: a lot of the songs ran together, though this may or may not be any fault of the band. I did really like the slower tune about his cop friend. GL, are you in any condition to make quality-based judgements on last night's performances?

G.L. Naut: I'm not sure if it was the Sparks, the Schlitz, or the Ben's Chilli Bowl (interesting tidbit: I learned today that Bill Cosby may have met his wife at Ben's, or at least took her on dates there...either way, pertty sweet deal), but SeƱor Naut is feeling it this morning. That's not to say it wasn't worth it, 'cuz it certainly was. As Rob mentioned, we didn't really know what to expect other than overpriced Schlitz ($3.50/can), but I was pleasantly surprised with the lineup that the DCist put together. Local band These United States were up first and, like I somewhat drunkenly told Rob and GH, I like anything with a lap/pedal steel. I'm probably not going to run out and buy their record or add them to my Myspace friends, but they were fun and had some decent songs. The singer could stand to lose the Fidel hat and the stupid vocal accent, but the lead guitarist was good. I'd see them again.

Pela were really fun, I found myself rockin' out pretty hard throughout their set. I thought they sounded like a subdued Wolf, yeah, pretty much like Arcade Fire. Their brand of pop-punk was a nice change of pace from These United States' more laid-back performance. I wish I could say more about them, but as we've all mentioned, the Rosckists were out to party...and party they did.

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