Live Review: Anniversaire…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: — @ 7:15 pm January 10, 2011

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Cold/flu/something kept me from the hearnebraska.org fund-raiser at O’Leaver’s Saturday night. I’m told by HN head dude Andy Norman that the turnout was solid. O’Leaver’s, I do miss you so…

Before the sickness took over, I was able to check out Anniversaire Friday night at  The Waiting Room. The set-up: Keyboard, cello, bass, percussionist. Any time you see a music stand on stage, well, it’s never a good sign. Unlike their photo in The Reader, three of the four members wore glasses on stage, including the drummer, who also wore a vest and necktie, and lip-synced to every song.  A fifth person eventually rejoined the band — a slight girl in glasses holding a violin.

Frontman Aaron Jordan looked like a young Rivers Cuomo seated behind his keyboard; while his high, breathy voice reminded me of Jesse Otto from Shelterbelt, and some of their music even reminded me of Shelterbelt’s more down-turned moments. Despite all the percussion, it all seemed very formal. It was lush chamber pop, but a very serious brand of chamber pop. There was nothing funny about what was happening on stage, nor was there intended to be. The sound was gorgeous and dense, floating brightly on those strings. It took a discussion with the sound guy after the show before I figured out why I could hear that cello so well — there was no guitar on stage, and without an electric guitar crowding the middle, there was room for that cello to sing.

Pretty stuff, but after listening to the album a few times and watching them live, I still couldn’t tell you what any of their songs are about, except that the subject matter is probably dire and serious, no doubt personal, and “very, very important.”

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Lazy-i Best of 2010

Need I remind you that there’s a little over a week left for you to get your entry in for the the drawing for the Lazy-i Best of 2010 sampler CD? Just send me an e-mail to tim@lazy-i.com with your name and mailing address. Tracks include songs by Tim Kasher, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Belle and Sebastian, Titus Andronicus, The Mynabirds, A Weather, Jenny and Johnny, Zeus, The Black Keys, Pete Yorn and more. Full track listing is here. And not only do you get a CD, you also get the new limited edition Lazy-i Sticker, suitable for any car bumper. Enter right now. Deadline is Jan. 18.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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6 Comments »

  • Shouldn’t a live review let those of us who couldn’t make it out that night know how well (or shitty) they played, how they were received by the crowd, and what we can expect if we get to catch them next time around?

    Who gives a fuck how many pairs of glasses were on stage? I found out more about the clothes they wore, who they looked like and the fact that you didn’t have “fun” than I did about the music (which you actually seemed to think highly of).

    Your live reviews are usually better than this, Tim.

    Comment by Jon — January 10, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

  • We miss you too Tim.

    Comment by o'leaver's — January 11, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

  • “..while his high, breathy voice reminded me of Jesse Otto from Shelterbelt, and some of their music even reminded me of Shelterbelt’s more down-turned moments. Despite all the percussion, it all seemed very formal. It was lush chamber pop, but a very serious brand of chamber pop…The sound was gorgeous and dense, floating brightly on those strings… I could hear that cello so well — there was no guitar on stage, and without an electric guitar crowding the middle, there was room for that cello to sing.”

    Sounds like a pretty apt description of how they sounded to me. To address the issue of “who gives a fuck how many pairs of glasses were on stage,” I’d like to note that the two times I’ve seen Anniversaire, they seemed very deliberately dressed and quite concerned about their appearance, and I wouldn’t put it past their crowd or Lazy-I readers to feel the same. Just sayin’.
    Keep up the good work, Tim.

    Comment by (another) Jon — January 11, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

  • So, the review could gone more like this:

    Anniversaire plays keys, cello, bass and percussion. I knew I wasn’t in for a rockin’ good time when I saw a music stand on stage (the nerve!). I was confused by their appearance because 3 of the 4 members wore glasses and yet their picture in the Reader had zero frames. The drummer even wore a suit (has to be a first in band history) and he sang along to the songs (the nerve!). As if there weren’t enough glasses on stage, a girl wearing a pair joined them later on. Oh, she had a violin too, I had better mention that, lest ye think this article is about anything other than the music.

    The lead singer looked like Rivers Cuomo and sounded like Shelterbelt, as did the band’s music. Their set had a very formal feeling (the nerve!). They play a very serious brand of chamber pop. No good times were had on that stage, no sir. I heard nary a reference to booze or broads, and can you believe these guys actually might not even care about this?! (the nerve!). Despite this, the sound was gorgeous and dense and the lack of guitars made it so you could hear the cello very well.

    It’s pretty stuff, and I’ve listened to the album a few times (which likely has lyrics) and I can’t really figure out what their songs are about. Rather than asking them, I’ll just assume I know exactly what they’re about, which is probably dark in subject matter, very personal, and without doubt extremely self-important (what else could you expect from a band with no guitars that doesn’t look homeless?). I could’ve hung around after the show to ask the band directly, but then again, that might’ve changed my already 100% accurate view of the band.

    Comment by Jon (again) — January 12, 2011 @ 12:21 am

  • One thing I appreciate about Tim (on the blog anyway, I’ve never met him in person) is his honesty.

    I’ll be the first to tell you that Anniversaire definitely gives the visual aspect of the band some thought (though the glasses certainly have nothing to do with that; three of us just can’t see!). For me, personally, I know I remember what I see much more than what I hear. That doesn’t mean you’ll find us on stage in matching outfits anytime soon, but there’s something about “street clothes” that kind of kills the atmosphere we try to create with the songs (plus, this was a very special occasion for us, and we just wanted to look nice!). Some might find that silly or out of place in a bar setting, and that’s totally cool with us. We know not everyone will dig what we do. That’s how it goes.

    And Tim’s right; the songs on this record were very personal and are pretty serious in mood (though I assure you, I don’t think my songs are important in the least!). This being our CD release, where we played the record top to bottom, well, that’s just the mood we had to portray in our attempt to do the record justice. The songs are what they are, and Tim’s description of them as “a very serious brand of chamber pop” is pretty damn precise. Perhaps our next record will be more upbeat?

    Anyway, I love that Tim writes about what he writes about and his take on things is always cool to read. He’s never bullshitting anyone, which is rare these days. I second whichever Jon said to keep up the good work! And Tim, if you’d like to know what any of the songs are about, hit me up…

    Comment by Aaron — January 12, 2011 @ 1:41 am

  • if you don’t like the reviews, start your own blog…..

    Comment by dane — January 12, 2011 @ 11:39 am

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