Saturday, September 15, 2007

the brunettes @ the troubadour

I am not in Texas right now. And that makes me sad. Anyone who knows me will be aware of how weird this statement is, seeing as I lived in Texas for two years as a child, and those two years were pretty horrible. But that was in a suburb of Dallas. And I really want to be in Austin right now. Which, from what I've heard, is basically like if you took the bad parts out of Silverlake and replaced them with the good bits of Hollywood and once a year crammed it with all Music That Is Good, and dropped it into the middle of the Texan wasteland. The Austin City Limits is happening. Right now. And I'm not there. Alas.


Thursday, thanks once again to the lovely people at Flavorpill, two of the Would Be Hipsters found ourselves at the Troubadour to see the Brunettes. Touring as an adorable six piece, complete with many keyboards, a mini brass section, myriad percussive toys, a drummer who defies physics, the only sexy clarinet playing I've ever seen, and Kiwi accents, they are cuteness personified. Flight of the Conchords (also released in America on Sub Pop Records, and in the Brunettes' top friends) like to refer to themselves as "New Zealand’s 4th most popular folk-comedy duo," which seems silly until you hear the Brunettes – an indie band by all accounts – sing about Mary Kate and Ashley, aliens, and credit card debt. It's clear that New Zealand breeds musicians who are gifted lyrically, and it's entirely possible that the Conchords' competition is stiffer than we Americans are aware.
Apart from the wit and the ubiquitous brown hair, there's also the Brunettes' amazing musicality. The harmonies are amazing, the multi-instrumentality is awe-inspiring (how many drummers play sax?), and the songs are undeniably well written, with a timeless, slightly twee feeling that's welcoming and fun and makes you dance. Which is convenient, as they hold a nightly dance contest. Free books (or in the case of the LA gig, free CDs, because who in LA reads anyway) are the only way to get hipsters in LA to dance. Well, that and alcohol, as evidenced by the drunk woman climbing the scaffolding. Oh, and should you be in the LA area, keep an eye out – trumpeter / synth player Harry lost his wallet somewhere in town, and there are few things in the world more tragic than a pouting Kiwi.

Also playing were two local bands:
Mezzanine Owls, were pleasantly loud and fun (in a shoegazey, melodic-noise sort of way) and full of fuzzy guitars and outstanding drumming, and they totally rocked despite the kind of bad vocal mixing from the otherwise wonderful Troubadour. Serious style points for the blue fairy lights all over the transparent-blue drums.

Note from LMS: The Mezzanine Owls had a girl drummer. I like chick drummers... this is probably because deep down inside I want to be one. Yeah right. Like m.a.b. says: "I'll marry a Pope before you become a drummer."

Note from LMS to Rob Pope: Please don't marry my roommate. At least not yet. I can't afford drum lessons.

Note from m.a.b. to Rob Pope: How does your brother feel about giving drum lessons?

Ferraby Lionheart – yes, that is his real name – along with his backing band is equal parts Sondre Lerche and Neil Young with a healthy smattering of the Beatles (provided mainly by a Rickenbacker-playing bassist) and a bit of Rufus Wainwright when Ferraby hits the keyboards. They ended their set with an epic cover of "Pure Imagination". You know, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? So they kinda win at life.

mp3: "Small Town Crew" by the Brunettes
mp3: "Loopy Loopy Love" by the Brunettes
mp3: "Lightbulb" by the Mezzanine Owls
mp3: "Won't Be Long" by Ferraby Lionheart

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