Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Clientele (Live at the Abbey)

Pictures from the Clientele's show at the Abbey last night are now posted to my Flickr photostream.

It wasn't the best show I've ever been to, but enjoyable enough. The audience was really squirrely, and, apparently, the Clientele shot their wad the night before in Minneapolis, so the whole atmosphere felt kind of low-energy and listless. Or maybe that was just me. But the band still sounded pretty great, and it turns out that that woozy intimacy in Alasdair Maclean's voice isn't, in fact, a studio effect; he really does sing like that. Their new gelfling violin, keyboard, and misc. percussion player Mel Draisey is so dewily pretty and appropriately ethereal, I wish she could stand behind me in my cubicle at work and gently waggle a tambourine whenever I do something really kickass in Excel.

First openers and local kids Canasta won me over in spite of myself. They were kind of like that goofy uncle or older cousin who always managed to make you smile when you were a little kid, even when you were trying really, really hard to be pissed off about falling off your bike or not being allowed to eat another cookie or something. I was kind of whatevs about their songwriting and general indie cuddliness at first, but as their set started drawing to a close, they launched themselves headlong into a series of particularly rousing crescendos--the first peaked with all six members of the band belting out a simple yet enormously effective two-part harmony line and the second found them exuberantly shouting "no! no! no!" in perfect, percussive unison--that warmed my jaded little heart. Second openers Great Lakes could not have been more boring. They seemed like a really competent college town bar band, no more, no less. I think the most distinctive thing about them was probably their drummer, and not because he was playing anything particularly interesting, but because he played with a kind of precision that hinted at (perhaps?) some extensive musical training in his background. Sorry, guys. Better luck next time.


Megan J. said...

I'll gently waggle a tambourine for you in praise of your Excel capabilities anyday. I'll waggle for you anytime, anywhere.


allison said...

And the awesome thing is--I know you totally would! I can just see you waggling at your computer in Boston as you typed this out... :)

Garage Girl said...

ohmagosh! I'm so excited. I love when neat things happen and the internet lets me feel less alone in this crazy world.
so i was just talking about Le Volume Courbe and how happy I was to see Mel from the Clientele playing with them at All Tomorrow's Parties in New York and how super-awesome she is and how she looks like the gelfling from the Dark Crystal and so my pal google imaged searched "mel the clientele" and found your gelfling picture...
and you're here in Chicago like me!
oh we must meet and you must be my new great friend. You made my day!
Cheers, Kali