Being sick sure sucks, but it does make a girl glad she took advantage of all the fun a few weeks earlier. I still can't really believe I managed to see Andrew Bird AND Junior Boys in the same night... let alone on a Monday. Those two shows plus TV on the Radio in the next part of my long-overdue recap:
TV on the Radio and Noisettes @ Cannery Ballroom, April 14. This show was originally booked at Mercy Lounge, so when they bumped it up to the larger Cannery Ballroom, I thought I would be set when it came to tickets. But silly me waited until the last minute, and impressively enough TV on the Radio sold out Cannery, so I thought I'd be skipping this one involuntarily until Glenn rescued me with an extra ticket. The show started pretty promptly with the Noisettes, who I hadn't heard much about, and who proved to be not exactly my cup of tea. The band sounded good enough and the lead singer's high-kicking stage antics were pretty entertaining, but her vocals veered a little too frequently into the unnecessary-screaming zone - an excellent way to send me running in the opposite direction. I was definitely excited about seeing TV on the Radio after the excellent half-set I caught during that perfect ninety minutes at ACL last fall, but somehow even they didn't have the magic touch on this particular Saturday night - for some reason this second performance didn't leave me with a fraction of the excitement I had after seeing them that first time. Don't get me wrong, they did sound excellent and I would love to see the band a third time, but I wasn't as blown away as I hoped to be. I guess a two-week live music marathon will do that to you, and for the next few nights I kept catching myself feeling the same way - maybe not having as much fun as I thought I should be.
Andrew Bird and Cortney Tidwell @ Mercy Lounge, April 16. I started off this Monday night with this little thought in the back of my head that it would be cool if I could see Andrew Bird AND Junior Boys, but it wasn't until I settled in at Mercy Lounge that it became a full-fledged plan. I love Andrew Bird, and I love Mercy Lounge as well, but damned if that place isn't a claustrophobic cluster-f*** when sold-out. When I decided not to worm my way to the front during Cortney Tidwell's set I pretty much lost my opportunity to be within reasonable viewing distance of Mr. Bird, so instead I hung back at the bar and decided I'd bail before the end of the show to see Junior Boys. Tidwell played a nice set - my first time seeing her perform - and I think I have to finally check out her album now, although my friend had a point when he remarked that "someone should confiscate her Bjork albums" (though I don't exactly like Bjork, and Tidwell seems a hell of a lot more accessible). Dr. Stringz came out next to an appreciative and tightly-packed crowd, and proceeded to play as beautifully as the last time he was in town, on the very same stage. I have to admit a bit of Bird's magic is lost when you can't see him very well - the sample-looping, violin-plucking, pedal-pushing and variety of absently distracted expressions and head shakes add up to an incredibly mesmerizing visual facet of his show, so I'm glad I didn't miss the opportunity to catch him (in his socks) that very first time at Grimey's a few years ago. Maybe next time around I'll elbow my way to the front, but this time I was content to catch about half his set, then scoot off to Exit/In for the rest of the evening.
Junior Boys @ Exit/In, April 16. I will admit I was surprised to find Junior Boys playing to a practically empty Exit/In, despite the fact that it seemed like everybody and their brother, cousin, and niece were at Mercy Lounge. I would have thought the group's first Nashville appearance would have drawn a larger crowd, especially since So This Is Goodbye is so phenomenal, but I guess I have to remember that this is Nashville, and you can never really predict who's going to come out to see something like this. It was nice to see that those who showed up were really having a great time though, almost everyone in the room was dancing when I showed up halfway through the set. I was a little nervous on the drive over, wondering if it was a good idea to skip out on the rest of Andrew Bird's set, but the moment "In the Morning" began I was sure I had made the right decision. I've certainly played the crap out of So This Is Goodbye in the past six months or so, and I was impressed to see how well the album translates to the live setting, especially since this is the kind of music that doesn't always convert to the stage quite that well. All I ask is that the next time Junior Boys come to Nashville, they're the only ones booked that night so everyone can come out and see what they missed.