Mount Righteous, Cryptacize, and Danielson Granada Theater November 20, 2008
Better than: Watching the Dallas Stars lose yet again.
On most occasions, the biggest compliment an opening act receives is "at least their set didn't last too long." But for a band like Grapevine's own Mount Righteous at the Granada Theater last night that was the furthest thing from people's minds. From the moment the ten-piece took the stage, its overwhelming joy was infectious.
"Cause when the music starts we all get together / And we dance and sing and love one another," the outfit sings on *The Feeling You Bring*, and truer words haven never been sung.
Though a majority of their instruments are better-suited for a high school football halftime performance than a rock show, Mount Righteous still manages to appear right at home on stage.
Fans of their debut album When the Music Starts would be nothing short of impressed with the way their live sound really filled out the mostly empty Granada. And while they mostly stuck by their album material, they did manage to surprise with a version of You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd that was more raucous than anything Roger Miller could have ever imagined, and yet every bit as playful.
Before the band finished their set, the group led the crowd in a chorus of "Happy Birthday" to bells/melodica player Kendall Smith and closed its final song with a thumping drum cadence, which escalated to such a riotous breakdown that it caused one audience member to proclaim, "…he just beat the sin out of that bass drum!"
Cryptacize, the Oakland trio that followed, could best be described as the crash after Mount Righteous' sugar high. The treble-skewing, reverb-heavy trio was so minimalist that it often sounded more like a duo. "Sing along,sing along, sing along" the group sang on "Cosmic Sing-a-long" while the mostly disinterested audience stared contemplatively into space.
Perhaps they were booked to cleanse the palate before the headliner?
It took about three notes, however, from Danielson's opening number to get the crowd back into things. The Pixies-esque group (just add helium) prefaced most songs with, "This one's a clap-a-long", and the crowd was happy to oblige. Fittingly enough, the lyrics to the second-to-last track "Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up" opened with the falsetto lyrics "Thank you for lending me your hands…".
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Members of Cryptacize redeemed themselves by joining the Danielson family on stage, uniforms and all. Daniel Smith then led the jamboree with an unconventional song structure and a penchant for the well-placed key change.
The night almost got out of hand towards the end of the set when a fan repeatedly yelled at the audience for not dancing and paying respect to the band, which received a chorus of boos. Smith managed to patch things up with a simple "Let the man speak…just kidding" before going right into the last number. --Cory Graves
Critic's Notebook Random note: I was slightly disappointed to learn that Danielson's band name wasn't pronounced like Mr. Miyagi's protégé...
Random quote: "Tonight was kind of nerve-racking…" expressed Allison Wenban of Mount Righteous. "We're not used to singing into microphones; there are only 4 or 5 people in the world who know how to properly use them."