Sunday, August 17, 2008
Music: Man Plus Live at the High Dive with New Faces, Elba, and Paris Spleen
Last night's show at the High Dive in Seattle was cause for a long night. There were 4 bands on the bill with Man Plus headlining. I was under the impression that the headliners were going on sometime between 10 and 11, so I arrived at the High Dive around 9:30. Upon walking in I could tell that none of the bands had taken the stage.
The first band up was Paris Spleen. The person at the bar next to me offered to bet that, "One, if not all three band members will have their shirt off by the end of their set." It's a good thing that I didn't take it because the guitarist walked on to the stage sans shirt. They are a 3 piece who I was told have been touring on the same 4 song EP for over 3 years now. Those 4 songs were obviously the most polished of their set, and they played a very straight forward classic rock inspired sound. The talent is definitely there, and I look forward to new material for them.
Next up was Elba, who for the most part were a 3 piece, but for about a third of their set they had an additional musician on stage to either add a second guitar, or to free up the main guitarist to attack the keyboard. They should really consider being a 4 piece the entire time, as the addition of keys gives them a much larger and more dynamic sound. They were very good, and they gave away copies of their CD, "An Avalanche". I picked up a copy, and if it's worth mentioning I'll do a future write up on it as well.
Last night's show also served as the CD release party for local band New Faces debut release on Loveless Records. Again with the 3 piece band, these guys are all 17 years old, and they fucking rock. They have a real playful crunchy guitar sound that is reminiscent of bands like Tokyo Police Club. Their lyrics are beyond their (under)age, and they tackle topics of love and lust like vagabond musicians who are twice their age. I'm not sure if they sold out of their CDs, or if they just packed up and left before I made it over to the merch table, but I can tell you that New Faces are worth checking out and someday soon I hope to have a copy of their album.
At this point of the night I started to yawn and feel groggy. It was almost 1am before Man Plus finally hit the stage. During the first song lead singer Jared Mills jumped down into the crowd and herded the Man Plus faithful towards the stage like cattle to the slaughter. I guess he thought everyone was too far away for the performance.
The band played a 30 or 40 minute set of mostly new material. The sound was great, and singer Ellen Mills could be heard much easier on this night than at their Block Party gig. The band was tight and they obviously enjoy playing in front of people, but it was late and even the band members suffered from a lack of energy by the time their set was over. I can't blame them. It has to be really difficult to sit around to sit around for so many hours before trying to rock the house. The people danced and sang along to the songs that they knew, which unfortunately were few and far between. Block Party crowd pleaser, "Not For All the Cocaine In the World" was absent from the set list as were the majority of songs on their last LP The Hungarian Suicide Songbook. I think that the only songs off the album that they played last night were, "A Ghost Is A Ghost Is A Ghost Is A Ghost," "What I Like About Love," and the last night's show stealer(and excellent closing number), "My Kind of People."
Despite the late night, Man Plus continues to rock, and they are a band on the rise that you certainly need to check out.
My night ended with Man Plus member Ellen talking about Maria Taylor, Azure Ray, and She & Him. In other words, her musical taste is as great as her band's talent.