Monday, February 14, 2011

concert review: Grand Lake, Yuck, Smith Westerns

Last night at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, three midrange indie bands played their hearts' content to a packed crowd, as the show was completely sold out. Some was good, some was bad, and some was just plain melodic.

Grand Lake

All of the band's newer, soft songs have power on stage as lead singer Caleb Nichols has amazing stage presence, however, his stage banter was super humble as always. The band played mostly new songs from their forthcoming EP as well as one from their debut LP Blood Sea Dream ("Concrete Blonde on Blonde"...released by the brand new Hippies are Dead label, and previously on an EP). Grand Lake have had yet another line up change, and they're back to being a trio. Ex Port o Brien drummer Josh Barnhart is currently their drummer and John Pomeroy, who used to play drums for GL, is currently on bass and keys. They played two covers, including a heart wrenching version of "The Tourist" by Radiohead. Overall, a great set from one of the Bay Area's best local bands, even if they have relocated a few hours south.


Spin heralded them as one of the best five bands of February, but at best they sound like an indie version of a power pop band a la The All American Rejects, acoustic songs interspersed and all. A few bearable riffs and the token chic on bass. "I could be your suicide on this one", the London frontman sang. Steer clear please.

Smith Westerns

The Chicago band was youthful and spirited, as the lead singer introduced "Dance Away" with "you should...fuck your girlfriend to this song". Somehow they sounded distorted and crisp at the same time. The vocals were confident, and the last part of "End of the Night" sounds a lot like 60's pop at its finest. The music is dreamy and feather light as well as melodic, and the band is not afraid to churn out a piercing Beatles-esque riff in nearly every song. They remind me a bit of MGMT at times, although substantially less weird. Do come out and see them.


number15 said...

speaking of radiohead, their new album comes out in five frickin days! did they just release this info or do i live under a rock??

my two favorite bands putting out new albums within a month of each other...what could be better?

Anonymous said...

It's "I could be your suicide policeman," for Yuck. "Suicide Policeman" is the title of the song. The album isn't bad, maybe give it a chance.

Hanan said...

eh, I heard it before the gig and it didn't resonsate