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Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Still Looking Good to Me

I saw a very good show at Tokyo Rose last night, headlined by Saturday Looks Good to Me.

The opening act, from near-by Harrisonburg, was Shapiro. They're equal parts Ben Gibbard, Sunny Day Real Esate, and the Unicorns, playing a quirky post-emo rock. The group's pretty tight, but they're not there yet. Special props for the drummer's energy, the guitarist's hair, and the Gibbard-frontman's ability to look like a cuter Will Ferrell that probably really appeals to the teenage girls.

The second band, the Fairburn Royals or something like that, played a steady sort of nerd-rock, but they couldn't get me or most of the audience into it.

I was getting a little drowsy (being the old man on the scene), but SLGTM perked me right up. They're down to a six-piece for the tour (the same members as pictured on the back of the new album). Their sound was more saxophone-heavy than I remembered from the CDs, and they definitely play harder live. In this format, the band's touchstones seem earlier than I had thought before -- more toward the late '50s or early '60s leading into the girl groups of that era, esp. Martha and the Vandellas.

I had tended to think of the group as more of a collective, but they played pretty tight last night and, more important, they really seemed to enjoy each other on stage, exchanging jokes and gags all evening, adding to the fun. The bassist must have great ears, as he handled the tuning throughout and seemed to be the tonal foundation (which makes sense). Fred Thomas played "When the Party Ends" solo and had a great time (as did the 2 or 3 bandmates who came out front to watch him). He added a bunch of silly rhymes to the song and interacted with the crowd, making my favorite cut off the album even more of my favorite. The band closed with still-high energy and I barely restrained myself from offering my floor when they announced that they still had nowhere to spend the night.


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