The other good bill I saw this past weekend was Or, the Whale (myspace) with Birds & Batteries (myspace) at the Great American Music Hall. I had wanted to see Social Studies who opened the show, but I arrive too late.
I came in right before Birds & Batteries went on. I had a few minutes to talk to Dave of the Special Goodbyes (and of Blammos) and Tim Marcus, who plays sweet pedal steel with Or, the Whale as well as bass in Blammos and (also bass?) with Dave in the Special Goodbyes. That guy gets around. I also found Christian and Ben of the Bay Bridged. It’s always good running into those guys.
Anyway, I’d heard a little of Birds & Batteries before the show, but not much. Their set up is sort of a standard rock band (bass, guitar, drums, keyboards) but their sound has straight-up rock and folk elements in addition to electronic elements which come in through the keyboards and a sampler with glitchy beats and things. They played an enjoyable set and I think I’ll have to look into them more. They have a bunch of mp3s up on their website.
I’ve been raving about Or, the Whale for a while and I was excited to see them live. I’m always disappointed when I love a band’s album and I go to see them only for them to not put on a good show. This was, fortunately, not one of those cases.
They had just gotten back from tour including some pretty bad sounding troubles (well, mainly their van caught fire 3 hours into the tour). I like see a band as they arrive home after a big tour. They’re always happy to be back and put on a good show.
Or, the Whale had Alex on acoustic rhythm guitar, banjo and mostly lead vocals; Matt on electric guitar and vocals; Lindsay on tambourine (and other percussion) and vocals; Julie on keys (and accordion) and vocals (also in Birds & Batteries!); Justin on bass; Jesse on drums; Tim on pedal steel.
They came onto the stage to much excitement from the audience. In addition to the appreciative music lovers, there seemed to be a good number of family, friends and significant others in the crowd, this being their big Great American Music Hall show at the end of their first big tour. They launched into the music and I had a smile on my face from minute one.
They played a really solid set of songs from their album and new songs, ending with “Fight Song” and “Call and Response”, which, given the sombre nature of the song seems like an odd one to be their “hit single” but I was enjoying it with everyone else. There was just a one stripped-down song (which I can’t remember now!) for an encore and that was it. My only complaint is pretty trivial: they didn’t play one of my favorite songs: “Prayer for the Road.”
I’d recommend seeing them; they’re playing again in a few weeks with Birds and Batteries again and they have plenty of other dates posted on their myspace including ones with some other good bands.
Sep 14 2007 9:00P Elbo Room with Low Red Land, Birds & Batteries, and Appomattox