Last night I went to the Barcelona concert in the CUB. I figured “$5 dollars? Alright, why not?” The first opener was a band from L.A., Lady Danville. These guys I actually really enjoyed. Fairly simple indie rock, nothing too groundbreaking or anything, but definitely a few really fun guys. Simple set up, just a guitar, drum, and a keyboard, all three of which share vocals. Their sound is simple, but not really easy to pin down. One song sounded reminiscent of a mix between Death Cab for Cutie and Tennis, if you can imagine that. Another song sounded more like the Fruit Bats. Still, the highlight of their set was “I Want You Back”, in which their keyboardist stepped away from the keys and picked up a ukulele and a harmonica. It’s like he read my mind and knew what the ultimate combination of instrumentation would be for their folky number. At any rate, they put on a really solid set, and upon meeting the drummer, I promised him I’d play his stuff on my show, so you can definitely hear their stuff on Mathletes. Oh, and did I mention that they’re all super funny? My only complaint about their set was their cover of MGMT’s “Kids”. Great song, but I really would have liked to have heard more of their original stuff instead of a ridiculously overplayed song. Alas.
Next was He is We. Now, I’ve talked to several other people who claim that they’ve got some good stuff. Maybe their studio material is better than their live performances. I certainly hope so. Was it the worst thing in the world? Of course not. But it was definitely “meh” at best. Their band didn’t seem too bad, but in all honestly it was hard for me to really get a good listen in, because I couldn’t get past how much the vocals bugged me. First of all, her voice seemed really nasally. Second, it seemed like she was trying to do more of a punky kind of singing style, and that combined with the nasally-ness (firefox doesn’t recognize this as a word, but it’s the only way to describe it) just did NOT mesh with the whole band’s style of music. Oh well. I like to think I had already gotten my $5 worth with Lady Danville, so whatever.
Finally, we got to Barcelona. Now, to be fair, I was only able to stick around for the first three songs. So I’ll grade off of those. Barcelona is a band out of Seattle who’s one album is fairly popular, and they’ve finally finished up their second album. I had listened to a bit of their first album and enjoyed it, and they definitely didn’t disappoint in concert. Solid sound. They sounded a lot like they do on the album, but with a bit more power on the stage. A really energetic, fun band that I’m sure would have continued to put on a good show had I been able stuck around. Their second song they did was “It’s About Time”, my favorite of theirs, and one that I’ve actually played on my show before. Their third song was a new one off the upcoming album. It was pretty good, but there were several times throughout the song that I had to stop and think “Wait, am I listening to Hot Hot Heat?” Seriously, it sounded a lot like a Hot Hot Heat song, he had the vocals down and everything. I guess that’s not a bad thing, it was just kind of surprising. So, I was digging what I heard from Barcelona, and I would really like to hear how the rest of the show went.
So, after all of that, my vote for winner from what I saw was Lady Danville. After listening to some of their studio stuff, I think they could make for a really solid indie band, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we hear from them in the near future.
– Dr. Derivative