You’ve got to love the ambition of a band like Anathallo. The 7-piece outfit did choreographed interpretive dance moves, foot stomps, snaps, hand claps, played a variety of percussion instruments (including marching-band bass drum), flugelhorn, trombone, two tinkling xylophone things, as well as the usual bass/keyboards/drums, constantly shifting from instrument to instrument like an indie Blue Man Group, each member also singing pretty harmony vocals. It was lovely, like listening to a Sufjan Stevens Christmas album. Unfortunately, the lead vocalist doesn’t have Stevens’ vocal chops, and the songs, though appropriately lilting, lacked in substance. And you can’t help but ask yourself: Do they just sound like Sufjan Stevens or are they trying to rip him off? The resemblance is too keen to be a coincidence, though I’m sure no malice was intended. And while Stevens drew a near-capacity crowd when he and his band played here last year, only 50 showed up at Sokol Underground last night. But it was a devoted 50. Two girls standing next to me annoyingly sang along to every weird lyric Dashboard Confessional-style. I had to move.
Tonight’s hot ticket is tractor-punk band FortyTwenty and The Filter Kings, which features Lee Meyerpeter of Bad Luck Charm, at The Saddle Creek Bar, 1410 N. Saddle Creek Rd. The Saddle Creek has a number of good shows lined up for November, all listed at their new website (at www.saddlecreekbar.com), which features a handy gig calendar. Tomorrow night at the SCB Adam Weaver and The Ghosts play with Jon Hardy and the Public and Spring Gun. Next Tuesday is Starlight Desperation with Virgasound and The Blush. And then Coyote Bones, Eagle*Seagull and Jake Bellows are lined up for Nov. 11, while Ladyfinger plays there Nov. 18 and Drakes Hotel Nov. 24. Not bad, not bad. As I’ve said before here, I like SCB. It’s close to my house, you can usually find a place to park nearby, the PA is first class, the beer is cheap, and there’s plenty of places to sit or stand and watch the bands. I’m even told that food is served there, too, though I’ve never seen a menu. Yes, I’d like this place to join O’Leaver’s and The 49’r and Mick’s as important mid-town music venues. But for that to happen, SCB will have to continue to book decent shows every weekend, and make it even harder for people like me to choose between all those venues. Tonight’s Filter Kings/FortyTwenty show is $7, so is that Starlight Desperation show next Tuesday. The rest are just $5. All shows start at 9 p.m.
A quick rundown of the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow night, Hyannis plays at O’Leaver’s for their first “bar gig” ever. Could be an achievement or a train wreck. Playing with Hyannis is Tomato a Day and Nicholas Hugg. $5, 9:30 p.m. And then, Sunday, the weekend’s biggest show, Sean Na Na at O’Leaver’s. I’m hearing that the bar is closing sometime after the dinner hour, when it’ll be cleared out for a sound check, then reopened around 8 or 8:30. The show is slated to start at 9:30 and last I heard there was no opening band. Will Sean Na Na draw as well as Har Mar Superstar did the last time he played at O’Leaver’s? The jury is still out on that one, but I think it probably will even if only Tillmann’s friends show up (He has lots of them around here). So, if you’re interested, you better get there early.
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