Even though the Papercuts were the headlining band last night (Aug. 29) at Schubas, I got the feeling that more attention was being lavished on the first of the three bands playing, the Bowerbirds. For one thing, Spin was there to cover the band, and then the Chicago Tribune listed the Bowerbirds as a critic’s pick for the day. I can’t say I knew much about any of these bands, but after listening to some songs by the Bowerbirds on their web site – and after streaming the Papercuts’ latest album – I decided this would be a good show to see. Despite my expectation that a hype-inflated crowd might show up for Bowerbirds, it turned out to be a respectable but far-from-sold-out-size crowd.
Bowerbirds played some beautiful and quiet music, with high crooning male vocals over acoustic guitar, accordion, violin and drums. No drum kit, though – just a bass drum pounded with fuzzy mallets, and a high-hat with tambourine attached, which the guitarist stomped with a foot pedal. I liked the basic percussion, and the songs seemed quite good on first impression, enough that I headed over to merch table to buy a copy. See my photos of Bowerbirds.
I’ve seen the funny if somewhat pretentious and unwieldy band name Casiotone for the Painfully Alone listed many times on concert posters and ads without ever seeing or hearing the band – er, guy. It was pretty much what you would expect, a guy playing old Casio keyboards and such. Not bad, really, with some decent songs and a sense of humor, even if it wasn’t quite my thing. See my photos of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone.
Papercuts took the stage in darkness and the stage pretty much stayed dark. (I mention this mostly because it made it frustrating to take photographs.) With lots of 12-string guitar and reverby vocals, Papercuts reminded me of those 1980s bands that mined 1960s psychedelia, like the Rain Parade. It was dreamy, a nice trip overall. See my photos of Papercuts.