Monday, February 22, 2010

The Idyllists Record Release Show, Freddy & Francine, The Passports @ Hotel Cafe

I went to Hotel Cafe to check out The Idyllists album release show upon HC's recommendation. We showed up a bit early after our dinner at Blue Palms Brewhouse (liked the variety of beers and awesome lobster mac n cheese w/ mushrooms. Didn't like the slow service: I admit the bar stools were packed and there was only ONE bartender, but the rest of the restaurant was barely half full and there were two waiters, one of whom kept taking our orders to the wrong table) and caught half of the set for

Freddy & Francine
Now I like some folk music, but what I can't stand is country; and what they play is folk that leans towards country. I enjoyed some of the folky parts of their songs, but as soon as they would hit anything remotely country, I felt myself die a little inside. HC thought some of it was catchy and Wing, guitarist of Near Death Photography Club, absolutely hated it. Every time I looked over at her, she looked like she wanted to puke. I thought the female vocalist sounded great; it's just such a shame to hear her talents wasted on this style of music.

The Idyllists
HC mentioned the entry fee would be $5, so we were a bit shocked when we were asked to pay $10. Then the shock instantly turned into excitement when we were told we could use our ticket to redeem the band's new self-titled album AND a button! Now this wasn't just a burned CD in a paper bag (you may think that sounds ridiculous, but I've actually received one of these before), it looked really well made and professional. I would have been happy with just the CD, but the addition of the button really made me feel like The Idyllists cared about their fans. I think a free CD with admittance fee is something bands should really consider doing. It makes the fans feel special. If a band charging $10 can do this, why can't a band charging over $100 do this?

Before the show, I had only listened to a few of the songs on their MySpace page. They played a catchy brand of Brit Pop. I thought Let's Fly Away was particularly addictive and even better live. I loved every single song. Head bobbing could not be prevented. Here was the set list for the night:

I love how much effort they put into set list, like the use of different kinds of font and shiny paper.

My favorite tracks were / are:
Let's Fly Away
Sweet Loretta
Empire State
Come On Home
The Dreamers

They sounded so 50s on some of their songs that I kept picturing them playing on stage at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance in Back to the Future where Marty McFly's parents hooked up.

The lead vocalist had a Buddy Holly look about him, while the piano playing of Matthew Barge reminded me of Jerry Lee Lewis. I loved the semi-matching blazers (but still keeping their own style) they wore on stage.

They really surprised me with how many band members they fit on stage and with how talented they all were. I don't think their style of music will see the light of day on mainstream radio. However, I can see their music vastly increase in popularity as soon as someone has the foresight to put them on a soundtrack for a future indie darling, such as (500) Days of Summer or Juno.

I have to say that it's been two weeks (I know, I know, I got behind on my blog posts), and I've been listening to their album almost EVERY day. It's ridiculously catchy and instantly puts a smile on my face even when sitting through traffic.

The Passports
I was told by a member of Siberian Summer Camp that The Passports sounded like a mix of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and that's exactly what they sounded like. Nothing really stood out. Although, The Passports do harmonize well. The highlight of the show was when they decided to stop for Harmonica Time, where they broke out the harmonica and started dancing a wild jig. Although entertaining, I kind of lost interest because it seemed like they didn't really care that much about their music or performing in front of a crowd. I don't even know if it was just because they were on last or if they didn't bother rehearsing. I could tell that they liked having fun, but they came off as unprofessional and I couldn't really take their songs seriously.