One Eyed Jacks
October 01, 2006
BY DAVID TERRELL
Looking for a show on the first of the month, I had to make a serious decision: Serena Maneesh show or Smog. Having seen Serena at SXSW, I decided to go to Smog. I also thought there would have been a lot less people and an older crowd. Plus, I pretty much hate The Republic.
I've listened to Smog's records and I've appreciated them, for the most part. One thing that's always kind of set me off is the constant comparison to Lou Reed. Bill Callahan might have pleasant vocals occasionally, but Lou Reed he ain't. However, I will admit before I get to the actual show that I should have listened to more of his records to get more in touch with the reason why he has a cult fan base and 12 reasonably highly rated albums.
The first thing I thought when I walked into Oejs was, "Oh jeez..." The standing area was filled with chairs, as if to make the show a bit more winsome. As soon as Bill started his first song I felt as if I was not going to enjoy the show. He did not give an introduction nor give any kind of slight smile. I'm not saying you need to, but it kind of made the crowd dead from the get-go. The more I watched the more I thought how magniloquent and obvious his songwriting was. Almost selfish in a way to not come up with better lyrics. You could say "apple" a thousand times and I couldn't care more than the first 800 times I heard you say it. He also did a little ditty dance every now and then during his songs (Really the only entertaining bit, he even over duplicated it to make it stale). The attire for the night was a cheesy '70's-like blue button-up shirt slightly unbuttoned and white pants with no belt. He kinda looked attractive in a, erm, uh, sorta David Bowie kind of way, but not as cool. A member of the audience gave him a letter that asked for an omelet sandwich. I left before the encore because I don't like falling asleep in bars.
On the up side, Silent Cinema opened up for them! Seriously though, probably one of the best Silent Cinema shows I have ever seen. Forever it seems the band is ever growing and shinking and sounding different, but it was the first time I ever truly appreciated them as an electric band. For a long time I clung tight to their soft acoustic sit-down shows, and it was my favorite thing ever, but I have to say, an electric guitar fits Micah better than I would have ever imagined. I've often felt about the change much like the Bob Dylan switch from folk to rock, but it's still folk, just a different kind; bolder, louder, and more powerful. Also, the entire band worked well together. The bass wasn't too loud, there were no acoustic instruments to get drowned out, and Micah didn't have to strain a bit to get his vocals across. Also, there were no girls with kind-of-okay vocals. It was just a great, delightful blend.
In closing, don't go to a Smog show, stick to the CD, and never miss another Silent Cinema show.