A blueprint for a good Saturday night: get a friend and head for the comfortable dinge of the Meat Locker, especially when there's a Tiny Giant showcase on tap. We were way early, so we found a bar and sat in outdoor Montclair for a beer. Construction zones, crowded sidewalks, diesel engines - an odd recipe for a moment's peace, but that it was.
By the time we got back, opener Science was just about done setting up.
|Science; Image James Damion|
four-to-the-floor indie rock to chugging post-hardcore, all done convincingly. Tying it together were their blippy keyboards, pining vocals, and a steady backdrop of churning guitar. It was brief, but this was a promising performance from a band that only seems to be scratching at its musical identity. I'll be staying tuned to see what they do next.
|Reese Van Riper; Image James Damion|
The familiar tunes, meanwhile, were absolutely towering. "Pitchfork" and
"Whiskey Queen" sound arena-ready. Reese himself was on as usual, imposing and charismatic, never missing a step. If you can, catch these guys at a bar. I felt displaced without a glass of bourbon in my hand, but, at least they were offering up beer-chicken at the merch table.
|Meet Pause w/ Adam Bird: Image James Damion|
|Cinema Cinema; Image James Damion|
|Feudalism; Image James Damion|
Their reckless energy and downtrodden lyrics are a marriage worth witnessing first-hand. "Venture Capitalist" stood out best to me, highlighting the accordion/trombone combo as well as the mad-genius structural turns. All goes down with a self-aware grin. There's no gimmickry here... just a spirited live set that does their excellent music justice.
|Those Mockingbirds; Image James Damion|
They took the stage at 1 a.m. and treated us all to better-than-record versions of their finest earworms, such as "Don't Stray," "Honest? Honest," and recent single "The Difference Between Love + Addiction." The highlight of the whole night might have been hearing unfamiliar TMB. "Salt" sounds like fresh ground for the band, a slick groove drowned in atmosphere, while in another still-untitled tune, frontman Adam Bird insists that "maybe we're both going to hell" - as far as I'm concerned, that might be their most memorable chorus yet. I'm still jonesing to hear these again.
Six bands played this one, and no two brought the same thing to the table. If nothing else, TG made the Meat Locker a playground for music geeks, with a lineup as diverse as it was loud. A majority of these groups have new albums in the works. You're gonna want to watch out for those. Darrel Norrell
Review Darryl Norrell
Images James Damion