One of the most talked about young rock bands of the year came to the Olde Club on Thursday and played an hourÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth of material in front of an intimate audience. These are the facts. Any questions? Could they prove the hype? Could they validate the exciting record sales of their self-titled debut, self-released just this past July? Could they confirm the stellar reviews from such venerable music mags as Billboard (“a nearly perfect album”)? And could they make a historically still college crowd dance?
But let us begin with the opening act, No Things. They played a thankfully short set.
Now let us look at the evidence. First, yes, there was enthusiasm. The place was packed. The first song, radio hit “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” left the audience in nervous shivers. Injected with energy and panache, the lead Alec Ounsworth did not disappoint, employing just a certain amount of star swagger. “Lost and Found” came next, a rocker with an interesting message, “You look like David Bowie. But you’ve nothing new to show me.” Wow.
More songs from the self-titled followed. Sure, the arrangements were polished but the execution left something to be desired. OunsworthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lyrics were difficult to understand and the keyboards sounded fuzzy. Again, hipster passion carried the performance, from both the excited audience and the jumpy band members. Soon, they played other album favorites including “Heavy Metal” and “Gimme Some Salt.” The final song “Satan Said Dance,” not on any record yet, could prove another hit for the band, with manic lyrics, wonderful guitar parts and a hypnotic end which possibly involved an invocation to dance. But was there then dancing?
Not really, but there was much applause, enough applause to warrant two encores and one song, “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood” which proved enjoyable and melodic. A shout-out is in order for drummer Sean Greenhalge, who carried this song and others with a strong, forceful beat. And as for dancing, well, remember, this is Swarthmore College and we all had papers due the next day.