Last night I saw Bishop Allen
play at the Mercury Lounge.
I've been listening to (legally!) downloaded Bishop Allen Mp3s, occaisionally checking out their website and press, and procrastinating on buying their CD Charm School for about as long as they've been around, mainly b/c I was sad their lyricist and guitarist Christian Rudder
had stopped writing for the now somewhat defunct TheSpark.com
. TheSpark was one of my favorite websites in college, back when the Internet was like burning. I hope Rudder takes up writing again, but in the mean time Bishop Allen is pretty good, and a really fun live act.
I think the lead singer, Justin Rice, has a little more of the rock-star carriage down than Rudder, who rather endearingly thanked the audience for skipping the pennant game in small voice before singing. The two of them twirled around each other while playing guitar, sometimes seeming a little confused about what their dance routine would be or needing to somehow consult with each other, but their oomph and gusto and just plain joy in singing was plain to behold. Bassist Bonnie Karin also did some keyboard and sometimes switched around with Rudder, and her vocals on Ghosts are Good Company were really nice, kind of bell like almost. I'm not sure who their new percussionist C.O. is, since she wasn't listed in the Charm School reviews, but besides having a good stage presence and flare with a xylophone she had some nice breathy backup vocals. Their second song was brand new, something along the lines of "making friends is easy, you do it so well, no one can tell, you're going to hell. . . " and while they were slightly self concious I really liked the arrangement.
The act before them, Cordero
, was impressive and loud and almost brassy, though I can't figure out where the "brass" would have been coming from. I can't say why, but I can really dig a band that has two drummers, especially when one also happens to be the female lead singer and the other one sometimes takes to manically jumping up and down with maracas. The lead singer, Ani Cordero, seemed a little stiff in carriage when she was singing and playing guitar, but when she was drumming and singing the room rocked.