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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Concert Review: Burglar, Mount Carmel, American Nude

Last week my roommate and I needed something to do, so we forced a friend to be our designated driver and headed out to Circus to see Burglar. First things first though, there were two other bands to see before Lindsay, Meghan and the boys came on; American Nude and Mount Carmel.

American Nude started out with a song that was straight up guitar-driven 80's power metal. Well, for about 30 seconds anyway. But that 30 seconds was as glorious as Manowar's hair in '86. This was their second-ever gig, and while I didn't (and still do not) know them personally, I was hoping it went well for them.

But then, something happened. American Nude is not a metal band. In fact, it's pretty difficult to arbitrarily label them into a genre because they were all over the map; switching styles mid-song. Their first couple songs (with the exception of what I mentioned above) were mash-ups of Filter and Nickelback with traditional delta blues thrown in. The male singer's voice would change mid-song between Dave Matthews an Eddie Vedder; in fact, the last few songs sounded very much like Pearl Jam songs, which is a conclusion both my roommate and myself came to independently.

American Nude were very good musicians, with an obvious amount of talent that you could perceive, but it seemed kind of squandered in that everything they played sounded like someone else; they don't seem to have their own voice quite yet.

Nest up is Mount Carmel. For some reason their name bugged me and I dismissed them before they even started playing.

Big mistake.

These dudes kicked all kinds of ass. Good ol' garage metal ala Black Sabbath, the Sword, even the Black Keys. Huge amount of blues influence.

The drumming was sweet; you could feel it thumping in your chest like a second heart. I was tapping both feet on the ground, bobbing my head, and slappin' my thighs with my hands. The guitar was fuzzy and as heavy as a piano falling 10 stories on to your head.

I wish I could say more about these guys, but my notes are spotty and illegible.

And now the headliners of the evening; Burglar.

One of the things I like about Burglar is their use of gimmicks. The band members are always dressed up and looking sharp, and they look comfortable doing it. I've seen Lindsay the horn player dressed up as a mariachi player and Meghan, the lead singer, dance around the stage like Carmen Miranda wearing a fruit-filled hat.

That's another thing; Burglar is one of the few bands where every time I have seen them perform, most of the crowd is dancing. Even better, most of the crowd is women! Maybe I shouldn't have written that last part; I don't want guys rushing to Burglar shows and ruining my good time.

Anyway, on this particular evening, Columbus' best Parisian lounge act was on; a mellophone, an upright bass, guitar, drums, keyboard, and of course a sultry singer slinking across the stage. She can seduce a crowd with not only her voice, but a shake of her hips, a bend at the waist, or just a sly seductive glance and a wink.

But this particular show, she was more laid back. They all seemed to be, actually. Which isn't bad, not at all.

From a technical standpoint, Circus failed hard at doing the sound for Burglar. The vocals were difficult to hear unless you were right up front. The horn tootin' was impeccable; as a former horn player myself, I love to see brass incorporated into a band, but I can also be pretty harsh in my judgments if I don't like how it is used. But here, it works great and is wonderful.

All in all, I recommend seeing any of these three bands.
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