Live Review: Son, Ambulance; The Stay Awake tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 3:51 pm February 19, 2005

Nice turnout for Joslyn’s college night featuring Son, Ambulance. If I had to make an eyeball guesstimate, I’d say around 300 were on hand, all enjoying free pizza and soda while being shrouded in the echoing, booming sound of Joe Knapp and Co. I’ve seen Son, Ambulance perform live maybe a half-dozen times — this was by far their best performance, spot-on in just about every way in spite of playing in a room that has the acoustics of a mausoleum. S,A played tunes from all three Creek releases, including the highlights from Key — “Sex in C Minor,” “Chlorophyll,” “Paper Snowflakes” and “Case of You/Wrinkle, Wrinkle” (alas, no “Taxi Cab Driver). The boominess hindered separation and caused some overlap, especially on more up-tempo songs, but in some cases, it actually enhanced big breaks and made “Sex in C Minor” feel like a well-orchestrated symphony of noise. The whole vibe of the evening was upbeat and, well, fun. Son, Ambulance played two half-hour sets, giving students a chance to check out the galleries and enjoy dessert in the courtyard. By the end of their second set, the atrium was crushed full.

Why was this performance so much better than Son, Ambulance’s other somewhat confusing appearances? Could it be the earliness of the set or the lack of booze sales? I left there wondering why Son, Ambulance hadn’t been selected as an opener on the just-completed Bright Eyes North American tour instead of Neva Dinova, or in Europe, where label-jumpers Rilo Kiley has been given the slot. Instead, Son, Ambulance will be touring Europe alone this spring to what will likely be rather sparse crowds. Although their music is as good or better than other Creek bands (certainly better than Rilo Kiley’s sappy last record), Son, Ambulance doesn’t have the exposure or history to make a “headlining” tour work. The band needs to be paired with a more-established act, like how Beep Beep was paired with The Faint late last year. For whatever reason, this will never happen, and eventually Saddle Creek’s little black sheep of a band will wander off to greener pastures.

Tonight, Sokol Underground soundman Steve Micek’s other band (He also plays drums in The Mariannes) The Stay Awake explode into O’Leaver’s with The Coast of Nebraska and The Bombardment Society. Expect a ridiculously packed house. The Architects (ex-Gadjits) play at The 49’r, while in Lincoln, Duffy’s is hosting Beep Beep, Her Flyaway Manner and Jabid.
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