Summer Hymns played at the King Club on Thursday night.
May I preface this by saying that I did not see the reunion tour of The Police at the King Club tonight. Nor did I see the tour of one of their roadies. Thus, can you please play your set on time? Or just a half hour late? Maybe I am a square, or maybe I am just a working woman without a coke habit. Just sayin'.
Folklore, who are currently touring with Summer Hymns, provided the best set of a tepid night. By breaking out the clarinet, trombone, trumpet, keys and your standard bass-guitar-drums, these guys were both tuneful and humorous. At their giddiest, they echoed the happiness of Cornershop and The Tragically Hip, and at their quirkiest, the mishmash of The Coral and The Waking Eyes. Theatrically spoken, ode-like lyrics paired well with the sideshow antics from guys who looked like your local bait and tackle shop workers. During one song, two members played the instruments the other was wearing, employing a silly, musical buddy system. These small touches added humor and appeal.
The keyboardist was the odd man out, making '70s robotic beeps and exuding the same amount of energy as Han Solo in carbonite.
Playing to barely 30 people must stink -- especially if you've traveled from sunny Athens, Georgia, to our icebox, Madison, Wisconsin. For the men of Summer Hymns, the cold apparently "makes their balls relocate to their pancreases." That sounds uncool (haha... ugh), but at least something was moved tonight.
Ever since video killed the radio star, it is a sad-but-true fact that a pretty face will sometimes get you an undeserved record deal. Lately, with the "everyone can be famous" concept provided by mass media, those who get the ability to go beyond the confines of YouTube have to be the total package. (I mean, do you know what the lead singer of My Chemical Romance looked like when he played sweaty gigs back in NJ? Whoa!)
So when a band is comprised of a guy who looks like Chris Farley's half-sized, older brother; a doppelganger for my middle school shop teacher; and a wrinkled, unshaven narcoleptic, it makes me think that maybe I will actually be blown away with musical genius. I was hoping to be wowed, but at such a late hour, their sinewy alt. country practically lulled me into a coma.
That's not a slight -- it's just something to ponder. These guys were not exactly synonymous with disco ball. Although Summer Hymns were pleasant to listen to, the buck pretty much stopped there. By the end of the show, only the songs stood out: the good one, the pretty good one ("Bombay Brown India Ink"), and all the other ones. "Fear the Law" was the clear example that Summer Hymns sound best when experimental. With a bass-line that sucked you in, the fabulous effect of looped harmonica, quirky vocals, and my first beat-box in Madison; this was a hit.
But there's a catch. Lead singer Zachary Gresham's voice is similar to Neil Young's, but it is exactly like Wayne Coyne's. I wouldn't be surprised if Coyne was sitting in a closet in Oklahoma, clutching his throat in search of his stolen vocal chords.