The Mermaid Lounge
August 13, 2004
I didn't know The Myrtles had a violin player when I saw them Friday night at The Mermaid Lounge. It was only after I listened to their debut album, "Nowhere to be Found," that I realized talented violinist Talice Lee was MIA for the show. Actually, I just found out she moved to Colorado. No worries. The Myrtles' brand of country/indie pop was wonderful anyway. The band was vocalist/guitarist Gabe Daigle, guitarist Lee Barbier, drummer John Kaufman, bassist John Bossier and pianist Casey McAllister.
The Myrtles played emotionally heavy rock that was as intelligent as it was fun. Barbier added a sunny party feeling with his solos, classic rock/pop tendencies and mandolin. "Devil in a Bottle" was a prime example. It was more straightforward and less plaintive than most of their other songs. Like old school Wilco. On the other hand, Daigle gave the music a guarded disposition with his tortured vocals and his defeated !It is what it is or was! approach. Unfortunately, McAllister was too low in the mix for his Wurlitzer or synthesizer to make a large impression. Overall, the band played a tight 35 minute set.
The Myrtles show rocked more than their album. It was sad music I could tap my foot to. The album, though, would be great to help assuage feelings of loneliness on a Sunday afternoon. Isn't that the loneliest part of the week because you realize you have to go back to work on Monday? At the show, Daigle provided exhausted tales of woe, but he was so emotive and the music was so powerful that I can't imagine there's no hope left there.
In a fun moment, the band showed their roots when they broke into a cover of Wings' "Jet." Barbier introduced it as "silly," but I love that song. They did it justice, but the sound went out on them. In a display of heart, Barbier didn't get angry--he just kept singing, not a word heard. The sound went out on them a few times, so bands should be wary when the sound guy on duty isn't Suplecs drummer Andrew Preen. He's a great sound guy.
Anyway, The Myrtles' music was moving, rocking, fun and well-crafted Friday night. They're based in Baton Rouge, so it might be a while before we get to see them again. What about a road trip?