August 23rd, 2006

August concert: Young Fresh Fellows at The Crocodile Cafe

Saturday night I went to the Crocodile Cafe to see the Young Fresh Fellows (links to eMusic) with the Paul Lynde Fanclub and the Nice Machine. All of these bands are pretty much just plain old rock bands, of no particular subgenre. I ended up bored by the show.

(I'm on vacation with Doug in town and am just getting this quick post in now, so I don't miss the week; I'll have to come back and edit it later to fill out the concert review some.) (August 30: Okay, here's the rest.)

The Nice Machine were a quartet playing early-80s-style top-40 rock, resembling Pat Benatar, or Foreigner, or even Kiss. In fact, they quoted from Kiss's "Rock and Roll All Night" in one of their songs. Although they deserve credit for playing their own original music (despite the Kiss reference), they never sounded very interesting to me - and it's well-known that I have plenty of love for modern takes on music from that era. The lead singer played up her reasonably-attractive appearance with gestures and attitudes that were meant to be sexy, but felt like she was play-acting at being a rock star. In short, the whole band came across as pretentious, acting at being a serious, genuine rock band but not making me believe it.

Of the three bands, I enjoyed The Paul Lynde Fanclub the most. The Fanclub are a trio of guitar, bass and drums, with the drummer serving as lead vocalist as well. Unlike the Nice Machine, they conveyed both a sense of quiet competence and genuine musicianship, and also a sense of wit and humor. Unlike the Young Fresh Fellows, they showed some inventiveness in their music. Although I wasn't inspired to pick up their CD, I'd still like to hear them again at another show.

I'm familiar with the Young Fresh Fellows for two reasons: they were name-checked by They Might Be Giants in the song "Twisting" off Flood ("she doesn't have to have her Young Fresh Fellows tape back"), and they have a catchy theme song that KEXP has played before. I was looking forward to hearing the theme song, and hoping that their other songs would prove to be just as catchy on first listen. Their music was generally uptempo and good-spirited, and I enjoyed it at first. As it turned out, about halfway through their set I realized I was simply bored, tired of the series of similar-sounding unfamiliar songs. The crowd around me was clearly having a great time, but also pretty clearly consisted of people who were in college back when the Fellows got started. When they finally played their theme song toward the end of the regular set, it was good, but not worth the long wait through the rest of the material. They proved to be a decent good-time college-bar band, but they're not my thing.