Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Live: Abe Vigoda + Dinowalrus

When: July 17
Where: Cake Shop

As I had originally planned, I got to Cake Shop in time for Dinowalrus. Since I just reviewed them, I won't again, except to say I liked the set at Cameo a little better. This time, the songs selected just didn't seem to pack quite the same punch on average. But given how amazing the previous set was, that's not really saying anything too harsh. [MySpace]

Abe Vigoda have frequently been described as "arty" punk, but when they took the stage, I failed to see what the fuss was about. Though not as young as they look (they are actually in their very early 20's), the band did not have the musical maturity I would expect from such a highly regarded group.

Adding to the group's teenage appearance was lead singer Michael Vidal's use of his voice. He seemed slightly unused to his tenor, unnecessarily flexing it and diving into slightly uncomfortable low registers. It sounded amateur, but not in a punk rock way - whether or not it was, it sounded self-indulgent and distracted from the music.

Everyone in the group, however, showed some prowess and all managed to wrangle good noise from their instruments. There were some pretty cool guitar parts and interesting drumming (though the repeated return to marching-esque beats did grow tiresome after a while).

Lead guitarist and co-vocalist Juan Velazquez may well be the brains of the operation, providing the most interesting instrumentals and vocals alike. He also did more to address the audience than his bandmates, with an endearing habit of hoping: "This is a new song, I hope you like it," "our friends are touring with us, I hope you like them," "I hope it sounds ok out there," etc. This is not mockery, it's actually praising - it is rare and lovely to see someone constantly and genuinely concerned about the audience's experience, which is what shows should be all about.

The band put on a reasonably spirited but not above-average performance that failed to capture my attention. Though Velazquez and his bandmates may go far, I don't think I'll spend much time on this band in the future - they aren't bad, but there's more interesting music out there and I don't have time to listen to it all. [MySpace]

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