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Tempting fate: a concert review

August 15, 2010

As you’ll recall, the last time I tried to go to an Apples in Stereo, I was hit by a car. With the Apples headlining at the 40 Watt tonight, I’m already playing with fire. It’s about a half mile from house to venue, and there are a lot of intersections.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, yesterday was also Friday the 13th, and to make matters worse, I stood beneath a latter for a full two hours in the afternoon at a show at Caledonia, and because it was then pouring outside, I eventually opened an umbrella indoors.

But none of that kept me from the shows this weekend.

I saw a lot of music this weekend, but I’m going to focus on a couple shows in particular, even if those two bills had more than a dozen bands between them.

Robert Schneider plays in both headliners, and in less than 24 hours, his on-stage persona ran from Devo (in silver robes in the synth-heavy Apples in Stereo) to Dio (thrashing about in the super-heavy Thee American Revolution). But Schneider pulled off both with his trademark effervescence, which was constant even with the style change. He’s a natural performer, and off-stage, his spirit is infectious. It’s impossible to not feel refreshed around him.

The 40 Watt show Friday night had a lot to offer beyond the Apples. Circulatory System was in top form as (I think) an 11-piece. I had never seen the band with a sax or a flute player before, and both took the sound to another level. John Fernandes in particular–on clarinet, violin and bass–stepped up his game. Other Elephant 6 acts (Pipes You See, Marshmallow Coast, and Casper and the Cookies) impressed me, and Elekibass was a pleasant surprise.

Tonight’s lineup, a Garden Gate Records showcase, was a heavier, more psychedelic arrangement. Big Fresh, led by the Apples’ John Ferguson, was the highlight of the undercard, but Laminated Cat, the Open Letters, and Terrapin Pond all had a lot to offer.

Apologies for the lack of pictures, but if it’s any solace, Southern Shelter was recording pretty much everything I saw this weekend, so I’ll post a link when they’ve got something to share.

UPDATE: Southern Shelter uploaded the Apples’ set. Lots of stuff from the last two albums, but they threw in some older gems (“Tidal Wave,” “Ruby,” etc.) toward the end.

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