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Last Night: Sunset Rubdown At The Granada Theater

Sunset Rubdown The Granada Theater

Better Than: Finding out that the Meridian Room has closed.

Sunset Rubdown may be an English-speaking band, but something seemed lost in translation between the Canadian band and the audience at last night’s poorly attended show.

After opener “The Taming of the Hands That Came Back To Life” from last year’s Random Spirit Lover, frontman Spencer Krug announced that the band would be playing some new songs. The response was not the immediate wild applause of an audience eager for the honor of being among the first to hear a great band bestow a new creation, but rather a moment of awkward silence followed by some hesitant clapping, as if the crowd was saying, “So soon?”

Stepping away from his usual seat at the keyboards, Krug strapped on a guitar and let loose a squall of noise that sounded something like a cell phone ringtone from back in the days before ringtones were songs and vice versa. Sunset Rubdown has written some of my favorite songs in the world, but they all took several listens before the cracked vocals, disjointed metaphors and crazed melodies really coalesced into something beautiful.

The energy picked up palpably with the familiar “The Mending of the Gown,” but Krug either didn’t notice or didn’t care that the response for familiar stuff was so much stronger, opting throughout the night to try out new material.

When Camilla Wynn Ingr announced that the next song would be the band’s last, the crowd seemed to collectively hold its breath in anticipation of the tension relief that would surely come. Would it be “The Men Are Called Horsemen,” or “Snake’s Got A Leg”? No. Another new one.

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When the band came out for an encore, Krug started it out with quiet percussive noises into the microphone. Then the drums joined in, and finally the unfamiliar sounds gave way to the grandiose “Stadiums And Shrines II.” It was an awesome moment, in no small part because the crowd knew the song so well.

Random detail: This was one of the most irritating crowds I’ve ever been a part of. One guy insisted on clapping loudly with the songs, often with no apparent relation to the music. “That’s cool if you want to do that, but could you do it to the beat?” Krug asked early on. The loud clapper showed over and over through the night that no, he couldn’t do it to the beat.

Personal bias: I wasn’t able to get there until the beginning of Sunset Rubdown’s set, thereby missing what I’m told was a great set by Hospital Ships. --Jesse Hughey

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