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Last night I went to see Blonde Redhead and Annuals at The Showbox. Generally, I prefer cheaper shows at smaller venues rather than going to the Showbox, and I don't care for being in the large crush of people by the stage there. However, I really enjoyed Annuals at their last show here in February and it wasn't likely I'd see them again soon after this. Additionally, I don't know Blonde Redhead very well, and didn't want to miss the opportunity to learn more about them.

Annuals put on another set of high-energy rock. Again, the musicianship of this sextet really shone through their percussion-heavy sound. Lead singer/keyboardist Adam and guitarist Kenny were able to switch rapidly between their primary instruments and furious drum-pounding without missing a beat. Guitarist/drummer Zack usually played one or the other instrument, but for at least one song he sat with his guitar at the drum set and alternated between the two, playing the drums with one hand. Full-time drummer Nick held the group together with his steady beat, and keyboardist Anna and bassist Mike were never overwhelmed by the others. The entire band was very tight, and the songs although often frenetic were clearly well-rehearsed. I said in my last review that I expect Annuals to get a lot of attention as the year goes on, not knowing they were about to do this short tour with Blonde Redhead. Now, I expect them to be the headlining act at the Showbox the next time they come to town.

Blonde Redhead are the trio of Kazu Makino (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Amadeo Pace (vocals, guitar), and Simone Pace (drums). They're not a band I've paid much attention to in the past - I'd hear one of their songs and say, "oh, this is Blonde Redhead!" - for some reason they just hadn't clicked with me. However, KEXP frequently has been playing tracks from Blonde Redhead's latest album, 23, over the past couple months, and I've been enjoying what I've heard. So I was expecting a good show, and it was good, but still not really engaging until near the end. Both the sonic wash of their music and their heads-bowed-down performance style fit the shoegazer genre, though overall their music had the harder edge and dissonance of experimental indie rock. Most of the set featured songs from the new album, and the audience was duly appreciative; but despite my ignorance of Blonde Redhead's older work, I could tell from the crowd's excited reaction when they pulled out an older song. Toward the end of their main set, they brought out two hits even I recognized (though I'll admit I've had to look up the titles), "Falling Man" and "In Particular." The crowd went wild for these songs, and perhaps it was their enthusiam or the songs' familiarity that finally warmed me up and brought a big grin to my face. In the end, the show proved to be an excellent choice, and made me feel remiss for not being more familiar with Blonde Redhead.

I passed up a show by Beehive in order to attend this show - although I reasoned that there was a good chance that Blonde Redhead would sell out, in which case I could have gone to Beehive instead. However, on their MySpace page Beehive recently announced the release party for their upcoming CD, Pretty Little Thieves, to be held at High Dive on Saturday, May 26. That's a show I'll be sure to attend.


( 1 wrote — Write )
Apr. 23rd, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC)
Nice, glad you went to see them =)

(I'm in the waiting room at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in Lebanon, NH)
( 1 wrote — Write )

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