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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Concert Review: As Tall as Lions

Columbus, OH, The Basement, June 12, 2007

Originally posted at

Before the As Tall as Lions concert at the Basement started, I was sitting on the concrete outside the Lifestyles Pavilion. A tall lanky scene-kid walked past me and gave me a funny look. A few minutes later, he walked by me again, but this time he purposely veered towards me just to step over me. He was all but demanding to be noticed, as scene kids always are.

When the Lions got onstage, I realized the tall lanky scene kid was actually the bassist, who metamorphed from a “vintage” t-shirt and jeans into a pretentious vest/slacks combination. But for bands like this, pretentiousness is worn like a badge of honor. Everyone in the band was in a vest and slacks, except the singer who was in a suit. Even their roadies wore matching vests. It was kind of creepy in a very Killers-esque kind of way.

The crowd, which was unfortunately very small, was divided between young, hip scenester dorks and preppy coeds slumming it and pretending to be lesbians of the lipstick variety. There was much dancing of the “nod your head and shuffle your feet” variety, as well as the always hilarious “trying to walk in high heels while drunk” dance. That's one of my favorites to watch.

Musically, the Lions aren’t bad. By that, I mean that they aren’t incredible musicians, but what they play works very well for what they want to do. And that is far better than what a lot of bands can say. What struck me the most about their performance is how clean and precise they sounded. You could tell that these guys not only practice their songs, but they love them as well. On almost every single song, any given band member could be seen singing along with the lyrics. Even their roadies sang along and played air guitar and air drums. It was like being witness to some sort of bizarre, trendy, indie-rock cult.

Although the crowd was very small, the band played to them like they were in a sold out club. The singer is an able frontman who kept the 30 or so audience members in thrall throughout the concert. He even suggested getting the “lesbians” some more drinks to loosen them up.
The aforementioned bassist was very animated; quite possibly the most lively and energetic bass player I’ve ever seen live. His face was constantly contorting into odd grimaces while he jumped aound the stage like a man possessed.

The tunes ranged from cookie-cutter “indie style” (believe me, I hate using that term) soft rock, some fast hard rock, and some sappy ballads. They only played one cover, Gnarls Barkley’s Transformer, which they turned into a slowed down R & B song.
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