Back in August, I discussed a Madison rock band's efforts to take its live shows into the realm of multimedia theater as it toured the country. Now this group, Sunspot, is back in town, offering the fruits of its travels to local fans in a DVD called Major Arcana.
One music video that resulted from the project offers a glimpse into this live spectacle. It splices together footage from Sunspot's recent homecoming show at the Annex and cuts from a film about "Joe the IT nerd," which was projected onto a screen. Sunspot interact with it during the performance. The video is for a song named "Perfect," but, as you quickly learn, the tale's hero is not perfect at all. In fact, he's a bit of a Poindexter.
"I'm looking for a girl who's kind and sensitive," Joe tells the camera as he flashes a smarmy smile, tossing his blazer over his shoulder like Carlton Banks' doppelgänger. It's a pretty good knock-off of an eHarmony ad until a translation of his statement appears on the screen. "Kind and sensitive" equals "Can put up with my emotional immaturity." The band smirks. They've been there. They know Joe all too well. They've played that game and grinned that grin.
"Hey, give that guy a break. He's really trying," says vocalist and bassist Mike Huberty.
"Thanks, I really am trying," Joe replies. You almost believe his earnestness until two seconds later, when another translation appears on the screen: "You both can eat me. Just play a song."
This subtitle is a fine example of the snarky subtexts that fill everyday conversations. A similar passive-aggressive energy fuels "Perfect" as well, giving its late-1990s alt-rock-radio sound a slightly modern twist. Hints of Live and Creed emerge as the band tears into its tune about how imperfection can be quite nice -- perfect, even -- if you learn to take life one day at a time.
The guitars are heavy and the minor key gives the song a somber touch as Huberty snarls out the line, "It doesn't matter if things aren't perfect as long as everything is perfect right now."
It's a fitting sentiment for coping with the disappointments of 2010 and approaching 2011 calmly and confidently.
More music and videos by Sunspot, including "Perfect" and other songs on Major Arcana, are available on its website, as well as its Bandcamp and MySpace pages. To experience the DVD experience live, join Sunspot as it rocks its way into 2011 at the Cardinal's Nest in Sun Prairie on New Year's Eve.
MadTracks highlights songs performed by local musicians. All content is provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.