Monday, April 2, 2012

Live: Cults/Spectrals

 24 MARCH, 2012
 Spectrals is Louis Jones, a young Englishman whose debut album came out last year on Slumberland.  It's low frills melodic rock, with the observational acuity and sly wit of Nick Lowe, and musical flourishes reminiscent of the Smiths.  If there's a pocket comparison, call him Kurt Vile's English cousin.

Set started with no fuss, just plug in and go...The flying bass player provided a nice visual foil for the leader as the set progressed.
As evidenced by the poor keyboard player during "Confetti", (seen below), it soon became evident that they were fighting forces beyond their control-a balky sound system that conspired to plague their set.

However, the band fought back gamely, with good humor, and finished on a high note. 
It's always enlightening to see how a band responds to adversity, and Spectrals passed the test with flying colors.  It was a treat to see their first tour of the States, and I hope they'll return soon.

 Cults emerged from the darkness to graduate to barely lit, and slammed out a powerful set, bringing the songs from their first LP alive with a vengeance. Madeline Follin is a confident presence onstage, but that was probably lost in most of the club, if I could barely make her out from 8 feet away.

The set was under an hour, but delivered with a sharpness that intensified the songs delivered, including a cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Everybody Knows', that, (no kidding), prompted an older couple to throw up their hands and flee.  The band actually acquitted themselves well on what's become something of an indie standard since Concrete Blonde covered it.

San Diego's Mrs. Magician opened the night with an impeccably tight set of tunes that relied on today's standard indie trope, reverbed surf guitar.  They managed to find a way to make it their own, and their debut album should be seeing the light of day this month.

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