Monday, November 03, 2008

And the Moneynotes/Fetch/The MF7; November 3, 2008; The Frequency

The local Onion AV Club editor highly recommended tonight’s show, claiming that the awkwardly named And the Moneynotes were a hoot and that everyone should buy a CD as a reward for a show well done. He was right of course, he usually is, but I still probably wouldn’t have been there if it hadn’t been for the fact that a relatively unknown Chicago band was also on the bill. In the months that the Frequency has been in operation it has impressed me with its wide variety of entertainment, inexpensive, well-poured drinks and reasonably priced shows. The first fact means that any night of the week you might see anything from folksy singer-songwriter type fare to face-melting metal, sometimes even on the same bill, while the other two facts make it pretty easy to give anything a shot.

And the Moneynotes are a garrulous group of ragtag musicians, their difficult to describe style has been summed up as, “A concise medley of country, surf, R&B, jazz, swing, and rock and roll.” The white-boy-blues of the MF7 (the MF for lead singer Matt Fitzgerald, no idea about the 7 since there were only 4 of them) had a bit more in common with them than the forceful power rock of Fetch, but that was exactly what makes many shows here so intriguing. Assembling bands only tenuously related and having them play well into the night may be the area in which the Frequency most resembles the dear departed O’Cayz Corral (a comparison I heard often when they first opened). Monday is a tough night to get anyone out of the house, and there were a few folks there when the MF7 took the stage. The band looked familiar, I knew I had seen lead guitarist Ellie Erickson in several other bands, most recently the Sigourney Weavers. They sounded familiar too, their brand of funky pop similar to Mraz at al is still popular with the kids these days, er, at least I think it is.

They yielded the stage to Fetch who had driven up from Chicago to play their first show in Madison since the O’Cayz days. The band has changed a lot since then, in fact they have changed even since I saw them nearly a year and a half ago. There’s a new face in bass player Jared, who very nearly had nothing to do tonight if the Moneynotes hadn’t helped them out. Inexplicably his bass got left in Odie’s garage and the Moneynotes lent them theirs. Only Jared’s shirt inscribed “Odie, where’s my bass?” let on that all was not right. They seem to have lightened up quite a bit since the last time I saw them, though lead singer Scott Schaefer’s vocals remain the intense core of the band. A few tracks, like the infectious “Jezebel,” even venture into the realm of accessible power pop.

The two bands did as good a job as they possibly could have warming us up for the description-defying headliner. There were only seven of them onstage, but it often sounded like twice that. As they climbed over each other to switch instruments and microphones it often looked like more too. The crush of percussion and vocals in their carnivalesque music might have been a bit too much some nights or for some people, but on a Monday when I was in need of sleep, it was just the pick me up I wanted. There weren’t many people there, but I hope word of mouth can produce a bigger crowd their next time in town.

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