Live Review: Mal Madrigal; Slowdown breaks ground; Rachel’s tonight

Category: Blog — @ 1:21 pm November 15, 2005

Where was I yesterday? Writing a feature on Eagle*Seagull and a column on Caulfield Records, that’s where. Watch for them tomorrow and Thursday.

I never got a chance to talk about Saturday Night’s Mal Madrigal show at O’Leaver’s. It was a packed house. I stood by the door most of the night, which sucked. Nothing like being in somebody’s way all night, but what could you do? I don’t know what the deal was, but the place was filled… with women — unheard of at O’Leaver’s. I halfway expected some guy to walk in wearing a cop’s uniform and tell one of the women that “she’s under arrest” before throwing his hat across the room and unbuttoning his shirt to the throbbing beat of The Petshop Boys. Even the owner was perplexed by the number of women who came out to see Mal Madrigal. I guess it’s that sexy heartthrob Steve Bartolomei, this season’s Keith Partridge.

First up was Denton, Texas’ Shiny Around the Edges, a minimalist noise-rock trio with heavy Sonic Youth influence. Their music was tribal and rhythmic, featuring chant male and female vocals. Some songs were feedback dirges while others were gritty rockers (They opened with a gruelingly slow Neil Young cover). Quite a contrast to what was about to hit the stage. It’s been about a year since I last saw Mal Madrigal, and their sound hasn’t changed much. The band’s rural folk is centered around Bartolomei’s warm, almost-soothing vocals. Some songs were downright pretty; all were laid-back — at least all the songs I heard. After about five songs-worth of people constantly walking back and forth in front of me, I gave up and went home. Mal Madrigal may well have outgrown O’Leaver’s Saturday night. It will be awhile until we get a chance to see them again as Bartolomei is headed to Europe for a month to play in Mayday. I ran into drummer Corey Broman (Statistics, Son, Ambulance, Little Brazil) at the show — he’ll be on the same tour, playing for both Mayday and Orenda Fink, who are sharing the bill.

A brief mention that Saddle Creek Records’ Slowdown project apparently broke ground over the weekend. I saw tractors and other heavy equipment busy at work yesterday from my office window. I was beginning to wonder if they were going to get the hole dug before the ground froze.

Tonight, The Rachel’s take the stage at Sokol Underground with Invert and The Mariannes. The Rachel’s play incredibly droll, drawn-out found-sound instrumentals on their last CD Systems/Layers. It’s a tough listen and could be challenging to pull off on stage. $10, 9 p.m.

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