Schubas had a great double bill last night (Oct. 24), with Dappled Cities from Australia and the Figurines from Denmark. I’ve wanted to see Dappled Cities since hearing their wonderful record Granddance this spring. The Figurines have a good record out, too, called When the Dear Wore Blue. The show was a little sparsely attended at first, even though Dappled Cities got nice writeups in the local press.
The first band of the night was The Dead Trees, who played fairly appealing roots rock mixed with straight-ahead rock. Given the fact that they sounded somewhat like a Replacements wannabe group, some of their songs had surprisingly sophisticated melodies and harmonies. At other times, they feel a bit into rock cliches, but on the whole, I thought they were enjoyable.
Dappled Cities’ two singers both fall into the category of guys who seem to want to sound like girls when they open their mouths into front of a microphone. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I love a good falsetto. The group said they’d played a terrible show the night before in Minneapolis with an unappreciative crowd, and they promised to do their best show ever for us Chicagoans. It was a very good performance indeed. The songs sounded just as pretty as they do on the record, but they rocked more, sounding almost epic during some of the instrumental jams. I loved it.
The Figurines were the headliners, though I’d rank them a little bit below Dappled Cities myself. They were enjoyable, too, however. I’ve been thinking that their record sounds like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah doing Pet Sounds. Eh, maybe my musical references are off. I didn’t hear that much of the Beach Boys sound in concert, and the yelping vocals weren’t quite as cracked as Clap Your Hands. The music was spirited and catchy, in any case.