Live Review: Our Fox, McCarthy Trenching, It’s True; (My) Top 20/Next 15…

Category: Blog — @ 6:44 pm December 14, 2009

The fact that my driveway had turned into a skating rink by 9 (and that I had a deadline the next morning) kept me from the Lash LaRue Toy Drive show (despite having already paid $17 for a ticket — what the hell, it’s a good cause).

As for Saturday night, I was surprised at the size of the crowd at The Waiting Room — only about 100 people for one of the better line-ups in recent TWR history. Shows at O’Leaver’s and Slowdown could have cut into the draw or maybe It’s True is just playing too often. Who knows.

Our Fox was on stage when I got there, but the line-up was different than what I expected. No Roger Lewis, no Jake Bellows (Who I believe is in England performing with Alessi). Instead, a trio headed by Ryan Fox roared into a set of fractured indie/folk rock that started out safe before bleeding bright red with feedback. It reminded me both of Neva Dinova and Fox’s old outfit, The ’89 Chicago Cubs. I’m dying to hear these guys when they’re at full strength.

Dan McCarthy started his set by holding a raffle for a slightly used guitar strap — something that presumably he no longer will need as he announced that he won’t be playing guitar anymore, only piano. And that would be just fine with me, based on the keyboard-only set that he performed Saturday night. My favorite songs off McCarthy’s last album, 2008’s Calamity Drenching, were the ones he played solo with piano. No other local singer/songwriter has a better sense of melody behind the ivories, or a more honest, forlorn approach to singing in general.

McCarthy spent the entire set playfully complaining about The Reader‘s Top 20 / Next 15 list in the current issue. McCarthy Trenching didn’t make the list because, well, they didn’t release anything in ’09 and rarely played (Come on, Dan, you were on the list last year). McCarthy was relentless, and with each jab between songs, I shrunk a little further into the shadows.

Finally, It’s True performed its usual pristine set, though I was disappointed that they didn’t work in any new material. I don’t know what’s on their new, yet-to-be-released album, but I’m beginning to think that it must be a full-band rendition of the songs on his debut.

* * *

Speaking of the Top 20, I’ve already heard from a couple bands that are pissed that they didn’t make the list, and I can’t say that I blame them. No one wants to be told that they’re not good enough to be in the top 35 bands in the area. Actually the list isn’t the top 35, it’s the top 20 most notable bands of ’09 AND the 15 bands that The Reader predicts will make a mark in 2010. Here’s The Reader‘s list:

The Reader‘s Top 20 Bands

Beep Beep
It’s True
Brad Hoshaw & the Seven Deadlies
The Black Squirrels
Outlaw Con Bandana
Conor Oberst
Brimstone Howl
Cursive
Simon Joyner
Emphatic
Box Elders
Landing on the Moon
The Show is the Rainbow
Capgun Coup
Brent Crampton
Ladyfinger (ne)
UUVVWWZ
Little Brazil
Matt Whipkey

The Reader‘s Next 15

Bear Country
Dim Light
LIttle Black Stereo
Son of 76 & The Watchmen
Filter Kings
Noah’s Ark was a Spaceship
Thunder Power
Matt Cox Band
Mal Madrigal
Satchel Grande
Our Fox
Digital Leather
Mercy Rule
Platte River Rain
Baby Tears

FYI, the process for creating the list involved having The Reader music writers each create their own list. Those lists were then compiled by editor Sarah Wengert, and four of the writers (including myself) got together and argued out the final line-up. Overall, I think it was pretty accurate. But in the interest of full disclosure, here’s my list:

Tim’s Top 20

Conor Oberst
The Faint
Cursive
Box Elders
It’s True
Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies
Simon Joyner
Brimstone Howl
UUVVWWZ
Ladyfinger
Little Brazil
Midwest Dilemma
Beep Beep
Tilly and the Wall
Matt Whipkey
Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship
Landing on the Moon
Capgun Coup
The Show Is the Rainbow
Bloodcow

Tim’s Next 15

Honey & Darling
Wagon Blasters
Ragged Company
Digital Leather
Outlaw Con Bandana
Bear Country
Thunder Power
Conchance
Techlepathy
Yuppies
Kyle Harvey
Broken Spindles
Anniversaire
Black Squirrels
Little Black Stereo

Let the shouting begin.

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