A little before 9 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 22), it was looking unlikely that Holiday Shores would play its scheduled gig at Schubas, opening for Evangelicals. The band was still on the road, but it showed up in the nick of time, unloading amps and instruments cases into Schubas’ music room. Good thing they made it, since it turned out to be a sparkling set of music.
This band from Florida’s Panhandle has a debut album out called Columbus’d the Whim. In concert, Holiday Shores sounded at first like a pretty typical indie-rock band of the moment (a little Arcade Fire, a little Modest Mouse, a little Dirty Projectors), but the music took on a more distinctive sound as the show went on. The songs had an upbeat, cheerful quality, and some impressive guitar duets featuring serpentine melodies. It was a spirited performance that showed Holiday Shores stands out a bit from the crowd.
Evangelicals were also well worth hearing, although you wouldn’t have known it from the sparse attendance at Sunday’s show. Twenty people or so were in the music room as this surreal, melodramatically emotional psychedelic rock band from Oklahoma played. The band deserved a bigger crowd, as it played some of the terrific tunes from its most recent album, 2008’s The Evening Descends. The band’s light display included a couple of mannequin-like figures pulsing with pink lights, an apt image for a band that sings: “Strange things keep happening! Strange things keep happening!”