Lights, Camera, inaction
Prepped for a mild evening of pop indulgence, we pulled into the Mercy Lounge parking lot Wednesday night expecting lots of muted swaying, head-bobbing and girls dressed like grandmothers. What we found—aside from the terrible surprise of an old acquaintance we avoided the whole night—was not far off. The crowd was a mix of Vandy kids, hipsters and nameless twenty- and thirtysomethings who were mostly subdued, but seemed to have picked sides in a battle of Jesus sandals vs. Converse. Casualties were rampant, and neither side fought valiantly.
By the time the trio Oblio took the stage, a fairly large crowd had formed inside. We opted for the sweet spot halfway between the bar and the sound booth, where the air conditioner blasts, the sound is even and a reporter can properly scope the scene. Oblio coerced the crowd into delivering their love and applause with their own particular brand of bombastic pop mixed with flowery picking, catchy melodies and a really hard-hitting drummer. Though we were impressed with their technical prowess, we couldn't help but wonder if maybe they were biting off more than they could chew with their spastic transitions and obfuscating drum fills.
Between sets we hit up the porch, guzzling brews, furiously chain-smoking and imagining stabbing patrons with our pen purely out of boredom. Once the novelty of that idea wore off, we ambled back inside, squeezing our way through seas of fashion glasses and gussied-up nerddom. It was at this point that we learned there were only two acts for the night, and that headliner Camera Obscura was about to go on.
The Glasgow outfit put on a solid show, with frontwoman Tracyanne Campbell and her near flawless vocal performance taking center stage both in the mix and audience attention. Although there were no string players present, auxiliary members added subtleties and accents via brass, extra guitar and vocal harmonies, all of which helped to create that Orbisonesque sound the band has come to rely on. Our only real complaint was a lack of energy in their execution. This comes as no surprise, given the melancholic nature of their lyrics and the relaxed tone of their albums, but it still would have been nice if Tracyanne had given us a little hop, or even just a playful wink. Maybe some whiskey would have helped. Maybe she aims to leave us wanting more. Maybe not.
Hair comes your man
It should suffice to say that normally, were we to begin, "The Spin arrived at Mercy Lounge Saturday night wearing a moustache," that would at the very least expose our gender identity. But this particular Saturday—falling as it did near the end of the fifth month—saw even the most svelte of women sporting the cherished lip wig in celebration of Moustache May.
Whether or not it is our custom to attend rock shows with facial plumage is one thing; that we are almost always late to such shows is quite another and, sadly, we lived up to our own low expectations by—due to circumstances well beyond our control—arriving late enough to this party so as to miss out on the performance by Uncle Skeleton, which we had been eagerly anticipating. We ascended the Mercy Lounge stairs to the sounds of And the Relatives, who on this occasion sounded as good as we've ever heard them—crisp and powerful, and augmented by the vocal abilities of the affable Caitlin Rose.
Off to our right there had gathered a group of tall, muscular men with severely cropped hair who were working themselves into quite a froth. Had this been an episode of China Beach, and every moustachioed showgoer were instead a Vietnamese prostitute, we might have thought they were out on R&R, "blowing off some steam" or some such. During the break between bands, we retired to the smoking deck, where men discussed their Internet nicknames in brassy tones and pointed heartily to each other's facial accoutrements. We were also reminded that the line between a Charlie Chaplin moustache and an Adolf Hitler moustache is, suffice it to say, thin at best.
Ghostfinger, the logical choice to headline this event, took the stage in their most effective configuration: Richie Kirkpatrick on guitar and lead facial hair; Matt Rowland on variously stacked and sometimes neon green keyboards; Van Campbell on the vast and thundering drums. The 'Finger sweated through a marathon set that, as is the band's manner, was both wild and composed, after which Rowland made an appearance on the deck with an unbuttoned shirt—displaying for all the fact that the better part of his front side, truth be told, is one long and capacious beard.
As the collective drunkenness reached its apex, talk of "Poon June" swirled about, and a female cohort expressed her frustration that nary a man of Moustache May had deigned to make her acquaintance. Hearing this, just such a man attempted to offer her a hairpiece to match her ensemble. But a confusing set of cell phone menus kept her attention from finding its focus on this gallant gent. Perhaps next year.
We've been going to rock shows in old Nashville town long enough to know that getting to The End before 10 p.m. usually allows for plenty of time to catch the opening band. And sometimes drink three beers before doing so. But punctuality ruled on Monday night, meaning that all we got to see of local wunderkinds Bows and Arrows was their ability to load amps into a car. (Not bad!) Apparently they went on at the un-Spinly hour of 9:15.
There was a pretty good crowd in attendance—somewhat less of a snake pit than usual, thank goodness, and smartly-dressed. We all got a treat courtesy of Deleted Scenes, who—if they hadn't told us in their introduction—we'd have guessed were either from D.C. or really wanted to be. There was hardly a verse-chorus-verse to be heard in their fidgety, propulsive songs, and they brought some serious heat with their array of delayed guitar, synths of various shapes and neck-vein-bulging vocals.
The Antlers were more than we were expecting, given what we knew of their recorded output going into the show. Louder, bigger, space-rockier, etc. We know people use "bombastic" as a compliment these days, but that's not quite the right word. Epic, maybe. After their set, we killed some time in the smoking court, where a well-lubricated dude in a Ratt shirt asked us, "Why does every establishment in town have a roof and four walls?!" He sounded vaguely oppressed as he said this, as if a wizard had cast a wicked spell on him—"Step not into any establishment that hath a roof and four walls!" Zap!—that was ruining his chance to see Au Revoir Simone.
Speaking of, as the Brooklyn band set up their wall of keyboards/electronic doo-dads (and one cymbal), a cohort on our left shoulder asked, "Would anyone care if they weren't all cute and from Brooklyn with the Holly Hobbie miniskirts and the Sally Jessy Raphael glasses?" We pondered that as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart winced the night away through the loudspeakers. "Eh," we thought. We don't know what to say about the trio of Annie Hart, Erika Forster and Heather D'Angelo other than they are awfully pretty—and tall! Just kidding. Their music is not particularly challenging, but as good pop music always does, it transports you to another world—related to this one, but more perfect. And with better clothes. We had our doubts when they took the stage, but they brought us along on their magic keyboard ride. Then we got a phone call we can't really talk about and had to split. Au revoir, Au Revoir Simone. Enchanté.
http://www.reverbnation.com/guesthousestud… git some black rain y'all...very nice piece Mr. Anderson
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