Well, Eagle*Seagull canceled due to the weather. I can’t say that I blame them. One of Slowdown’s owners described the melee that ended Fathr’s set — one of the performers continuously stabbing a guitar. I would have liked to have seen that. The guitar was still lying on the stage as the grips prepared for The Show Is the Rainbow’s set. Despite the snow/ice/sleet, there looked to be around 150 or so on the floor or milling around the balcony. A good draw considering the weather. Darren Keen brought his A game, but doesn’t he always? It was the usual shtick — Keen running around the audience singing/rapping over prerecorded tracks while his homemade videos were projected on a wrinkled bed sheet draped over a pole hung from the rafters. He told me he was going to have some “special guests” perform with him, but that never happened. If you took the entire set and divided the actual music from the between-song patter, you’d discover that Keen joked around as much as he sang. The crowd didn’t mind. They were laughing. There is a self-defeating, self-deprecating tone to Keen’s comments — taken out of context, they could be as sad as they are funny, humor as pathos (though in real life, there’s nothing pathetic about him). Keen makes fun of himself and the scene, his music and the audience. And when he reaches for applause, you naturally join in. The guy is up there alone, after all, with his shirt off, sweating, trying to get the crowd to put their hands above their heads. What easily gets lost at a TSITR show is the music itself, which is always interesting but clearly secondary to “the performance.” I never had a chance to see TSITR with his short-lived band. But I have a feeling the only difference was the guys standing on stage, wondering what the hell Darren was going to do next. He ended with a new song that sounded more streamlined and tuneful that his old stuff. At the end of his two-song encore, the crowd rallied Keen with the chant of “Five More Years! Five More Years!” I have no doubt.
Tonight at Slowdown Jr., uber-hot indie band Vampire Weekend takes the stage with Grand Ole Party and 4th of July. $8, 9 p.m. Meanwhile, over at O’Leaver’s, it’s Brimstone Howl with Digital Leather and Dead Beat recording artist Forbidden Tigers from Grand Island, NE. The gig is FT’s official CD release show for Magnetic Problems, an LP recorded by Brooks Hitt at DNA Studios. $5, 9:30 p.m.
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