Aqueduct headlined Friday (Feb. 27) at Schubas. I’ve seen this band (i.e. David Terry) three times now and listened to its/his 2007 album Or Give Me Death, and I’m still not sure exactly what to make of Aqueduct. Terry has some catchy melodies, and a good sense of humor, but he also has a tendency toward cheesiness. That’s part of the humor, I guess, but I wonder what Terry would be capable of if he held back on the jokes for one night. Anyway, Aqueduct drew a very enthusiastic, young crowd Friday with a number of fans dancing wildly. So I guess he must be doing something right.
The first band of the night was Light Pollution. I see so many bands that I sometimes forget who I’ve seen, and Light Pollution was one band that rang a slight bell in my memory. But I couldn’t quite recall whether I’d seen Light Pollution before. Later, I had to check my own blog’s archive here to figure out that I’d seen Light Pollution opening for Malajube at the Empty Bottle in 2007. Seeing them again, I enjoyed their jangly sound.
Second up was the Foundry Field Recordings, from Columbia, Missouri. The main guy in this band, Billy Schuh, had a new set of backing players with him, who are also in a band called Bald Eagle (not DJ Bald Eagle, as they pointed out). I liked their music, which had a bit of a 1980s XTC feel to it.
Photos of Aqueduct, the Foundry Field Recordings and Light Pollution.
It’s a funny feeling when you’re at a concert, watching a band you’ve never heard before, surrounded by people who are obviously a lot more familiar with the music – and more adoring of it. That’s what I felt like watching the first band at this April 17 show at the Empty Bottle. I’ve seen the name of this band, What Made Milwaukee Famous, countless times, but I’d never gotten around to checking out their music. Maybe because the band has such a dumb-ass name. Well, I can’t say I was too impressed. It was cheerful, slightly bouncy pop, dominated by keyboards. Melodic enough, I guess, but nothing about it really grabbed me. And I found myself feeling misantrhopically irked by all of the fans singing along.
The second band of the night was a similar experience for me, except that I liked it. Another band I’ve been woefully uninformed about, Aqueduct. Strangely, Aqueduct’s music was similar in some ways to What Made Milwaukee Famous – basically, pop music with keyboards and guitar – but I found it much more appealing. It helped that the lead singer (who kept reminding me of the Hurley character on “Lost”) had a great sense of humor.
The reason I was at the Empty Bottle was the Australian headliners, Youth Group, and they did not disappoint. (It was disappointing, though, to see the crowd thin out a bit as some Aqueduct and What Made Milwaukee Famous fans departed.) I was a big fan of the last Youth Group album, Skeleton Jar, and I’m just now hearing the new record, Casino Twlight Dogs. Youth Group’s songs have really strong melodies that stick in your brain. The music finds a great balance between mellow and rocking, and that came off well in concert, as Youth Group let loose during some of the instrumental passages.
See my photos of Youth Group, Aqueduct & What Made Milwaukee Famous.