Starlight Mints, Evangelicals, Matthew and the Arrogant Sea
June 25, 2009
Better than: being stuck at home finishing another week's installment of "North of the Dial" (as I am every Thursday night).
A solid lineup on last night's bill made for a solid evening of great music as all three bands played songs steeped and swirling with all manner of the fantastic.
(And, yeah, the Granada sprinkled in Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 songs between each set.)
Denton's Matthew and the Arrogant Sea's songs about magic, spacemen and wizards fit perfectly with Starlight Mint's tunes about black cats, ghosts and dragons, and, then, to darken things up, Evangelicals' rants about madmen, murder and skeletons added a bit of a haunted and horrible tone to the mix.
Each band played an excellent set, but the first five or so songs of Starlight Mints' set were taken from Change Remains, the band's freshly finished and soon-to-be-released-on-Barsuk album. Needless to say, I didn't see any fans singing along.
Though not available in record stores until July 21, the merch table by the men's room in the lobby had plenty of copies of Starlight Mints' new album for sale. So, unless someone bought the CD after the doors opened and listened to it while the opening acts played, then the band's fans were left to just listen for the first half of the Mints' set.
Still, a sprinkling of older tracks in the latter-half of its set perked up the audience and finally had them singing along to the oh-so-catchy lyrics.
For fans of Norman, Oklahoma-based Evangelicals, meanwhile, last night's performance was nowhere near as dark, glam or macabre as the band's sets have been in the past. And the new-and-improved, no-frills Evangelicals managed to win the crowd by playing the manic "Bellawood" and fevered "Skeleton Man" back-to-back.
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(And, speaking of Norman, Dallas certainly has had its fair share of Norman-bred bands of late, what with last night's double-bill of Starlight Mints and Evangeligals and the recent Good Records-hosted in-store performance by Stardeath and the White Dwarfs.)
The Mints' new songs were catchy, poppy and even a bit dirty/funky at times, but, because they were unfamiliar tunes, they were a little, well, too new. Frontman Allan Vest belted out the tunes with a passioned precision that elevated the otherwise ho-hum first few tracks. Marian Love Nunez, the band's keyboard/megaphone-ist, did her best to try to get some energy from the crowd, alternately clapping her hands over head while muttering something about "Come on!" and "Clap-a-longs!" to the crowd. But, this was a laid-back night, with nearly half the crowd slumped in the chairs flanking the sides of the room, and others leaning against the sectional bars that run across the center room, so her efforts were for naught.
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The band did raid its backcatalogue for the latter half its set, though, and some old tunes began to appear--like a rollicking rendition of "Valerie Flames" off 2000's The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of and "Pages" and "Black Cat" off 2003' Built on Squares.
Thanks for the memories.
Personal Bias: A piece about the Evangelicals happens to be the first B-side I wrote for the music section, and I own a t-shirt that proclaims: "Evangelicals Are Strange."
By the way: Matthew and the Arrogant Sea played a doozy of a set, and even played a fantastic version of Matthew Gray, Delves Into The Humanity Pools With The Six Foot Saucer Pot People's "My Little Map of the World," which, technically speaking, is a cover tune, right?