Plead as they may, Voxtrot couldn’t get them to come on up and dance last night at O’Leaver’s. Had nothing to do with the music, which was certainly made for dancing — poppy and loose, their arrangements were deceptively simple for a five-piece. If you closed your eyes you’d think you were listening to a trio, but there was a second guitarist tucked in the back and a guy that played keyboards here and there. Occasionally bands define themselves by the cover songs they play, or how they play them. Last night Voxtrot covered Talking Heads’ “Heaven,” a laid-back, shimmering, hangover track that throbs with the same hazy angst felt while driving home alone after a late-night party, one of my favorite Heads’ tracks. Voxtrot reinvented it as a peppy back-beat pogo song, kicky and fun-loving house-dance fare. Lite. A perfect analogy for all their music — hopeful love songs with snappy-patter percussion and shuffle rhythm guitar. Lots of smiles. Fun indie pop that means no harm. Simple. Nothing wrong with that.
Kite Pilot opened sounding as good as ever, though I noticed less trumpet during last night’s set. Trumpeter/keyboardist Todd Hanton said that was by design. Fact is, he can’t play keyboards and trumpet at the same time. Regardless, he came through with the brass on the back-half of the set, and the band finished with a new song that pop-pop-popped as well as anything from their records. A new guitar player even joined them on a couple songs. No idea if he’s a permanent addition or not. If you’re kicking yourself for missing them last night, don’t worry. They’re playing at O’Leaver’s again March 19 with The Protoculture (yes, that Protoculture). More on that show in the coming weeks.
Tonight: Nada Surf at Sokol Underground. This should be a good one. NS drummer Ira Elliot said expect to hear most of The Weight Is a Gift as well as songs from their first two albums. “It’s a pretty straight-up rock show,” he said. “It’s been running an hour and a half to two hours long. We cover lots of ground.” Two hours? That’s arena rock-show length. A lot of people will be there just to see their tour mates, Rogue Wave. Other opener Inara George (daughter of Little Feat’s Lowell George) sounds exactly like Suzanne Vega (who I adore). It’s gonna be a long night. $12, 9 p.m.
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