Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sleeping in the Aviary/Amo Joy/So-So Radio; November 27, 2010; The Frequency

Every Sleeping in the Aviary show is unique, for better or worse, but they seemed determined to make the CD release show for Great Vacation! even more memorable than usual. To start with, there was a script for the evening’s banter, but it seemed that none of them had been involved in writing it and everyone had gotten their script just moments before. Lead singer/guitarist Elliot Kozel had most of the lines which he read woodenly, and eventually randomly. As the evening went on he would pluck pages off the floor and recite them, sometimes declaring “I read that one already,” and tossing it aside, sometimes not caring if he had. They also decided that having pizza delivered in the middle of their set would be hilarious, too bad the pizza guy wouldn’t come in and it was delivered, somewhat anticlimactically, by Amo Joy’s lead singer instead. Worse yet, the half full box fell to the floor as it was being passed through the audience, just after Elliot said that better not happen, “because that shit wasn’t cheap.” Too bad, I was hungry.

Musically the night was a little more inspired. Great Vacation! is their easiest listening record yet. In fact if you listened to it right after their first record you might not believe it was the same band. This record sounds produced, though certainly not in a bad way. I’ll admit I am still in love with the lo-fi sound of the second record (Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Motel), but I l really love that they wanted to do something different this time around. Several of the tracks feature gargling, “Last Kiss on a Sinking Ship” for example, which I think I read somewhere Elliot called “the new reverb.” That remains to be seen, but it is just another example of how they like to do things any way but ordinary. They had started the set with some lounge-y disco music, a sort of Great Vacation! theme song, and they ended the night with the same sort of music, which eventually turned into an entertaining butchering of “Staying Alive.” I was happy to see I’m not the only one who thinks the BeeGees are still relevant. Even more enjoyable was bassist Phil Malmstead’s shirt which read “Here Comes Trouble,” which is especially appropriate since I claim most bass players are nothing but trouble.

SitA met Amo Joy in Indianapolis on one of their first major tours. One of them told me that they played with a lot of bands on that tour, but they met very few that they liked. This is the third time Amo Joy has been to Madison since then, playing with SitA and their buddies Icarus Himself. They seemed to have calmed down a bit since their first manic show, which not only included extra percussion from the band, but also an additional ruckus from the noisemakers they passed out to the audience. Calmer yes, but their infectious pop is still plenty entertaining. I’d first heard of So-So Radio when they opened for the first Madison Ha Ha Tonka show in years that I had missed. I was really bummed to miss my boys, but I was also disappointed that I had to miss So-So Radio and the August Teens who I had recommended as an opener. Tonight I was entertained by the skinny young boys who claimed to be from “across the street.” Turns out they all live in different cities, so they have a hard time saying where they are from. I look forward to seeing them again. And I really look forward to seeing Sleeping in the Aviary again, they are always full of surprises.

So-So Radio

Sleeping in the Aviary

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