The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham
Well, how often do you see US chart toppers at a 800 person stand-up venue? I like the last couple of their LPs, after finding the earlier ones a bit precious, so I thought this worth a go, not least as, for the 1st time in ages, I’m seeing a band younger than me. Not that they look it, fer chrissake, most of their publicity shots drawing a Band like vibe, except the Band on their ’69 debut look like One Direction by comparison. And it was good. They hit the ground running with the wonderfully self-reverential and hopefully ironic opener from their new album, banging straight into a stack of songs that amply filled a jangle shaped REM hole in my conscious. But it was if they had played all their good cards first, as, enjoyable OK, it all got a bit safe, dull even. Sure, the musicianship was sound, a special mention for, on keys, accordion and tympani(!), Jenny Conlee, playing like a demented elf, but it all sounds better on record, confirmed by my buying the CD and playing repeatedly today. Colin Meloy’s voice has matured from marmite to » Continue Reading.