Last night was yet another great show at the Cavern. No, there was no lead singer showing up late forcing the rest of the band to do cover songs. No, there was no fear that a guitar tuning peg could slash someone's face. However, this show was special and unique.
As a sort of a pre-SxSW shindig, Chris from Gorilla vs. Bear had two bands from San Francisco, Birdmonster and Seventeen Evergreen, and Tapes 'n Tapes from Minneapolis play. Aside from hearing an MP3 from Tapes 'n Tapes a few days before, I essentially walked into the show cold. I had a good feeling that I would enjoy the show and thankfully, I was right.
Before I go much further, check out Chris' post and Dodge's post with pictures. If it looks like it was packed to the gills but a lot of fun, you're right.
Tapes 'n Tapes have been on a lot of people's minds and lips as of late, especially because their album, The Loon, received a nice review from Pitchfork Media. While I don't read Pitchfork as closely as I used to, I at least will check out something they rave about. Not to sound like a lemming, but knowing how picky their reviewers are, when something gets a nice write-up, chances are good that it will be worthwhile. I have yet to hear The Loon, but I enjoyed what I heard and saw last night.
I have a really hard time trying to describe these guys' music. Hell, I have a hard time describing Birdmonster's too, but Seventeen Evergreen was easier to describe. Roughly, Seventeen Evergreen had a chilled-out, shoegazer vibe with some keyboards and electronic touches. I didn't think they were bad or boring, but I wasn't really impressed. As far as Birdmonster, they somehow mixed mathy post-hardcore and Americana rock without sounding like a train wreck. Lots of crazy energy, but also twangy and tuneful.
Back to Tapes 'n Tapes, I have to start with their drummer. The late-great Joe Strummer once said "You're only as good as your drummer." How true that is and this really helps Tapes 'n Tapes' case. If you have good tunes and a great drummer, you can't go wrong. So take a really solid drummer (who looked like pint-sized version of Mo Rocca from The Daily Show) with a solid set of scratchy but smooth songs and a really lively onstage presence, you have a little better idea.
As far as sound comparisons, Jason heard some Shins and Pixies. While I agree, they definitely don't sound like carbon copies of those bands. There are plenty of dynamics and a variety of moods, but they don't sound unfocused. These guys aren't for everybody, but for people that are tired of bands that sound like post-punk offspring, I recommend them.
Probably the best aspect of this show was the rather carefree vibe. It reminded me of some of the shows I saw at SxSW last year, but this show didn't involve $12 tickets or long-ass lines waiting to get in. Also, matters helped that the venue was only ten minutes away from home, so that was even better. I'll be skipping out on SxSW this year, but I'm glad I got to see some bands making a pitstop in Dallas before they hit Austin.