Sunday, October 28, 2012
Ramona Falls, Dark Swallows and Sleepy Seahorse @ Neurolux (10/27/12)
Aside from hearing that its leader used to be in Menomena, I didn't really know anything about Ramona Falls before this show. That would've been enough to attract my interest right there, but then a music-savvy friend's excitement about this gig got me excited too. She didn't get off work in time, unfortunately, but I managed to make it down.
I got a little chagrined when I arrived at Neurolux and found only fifteen people inside. Happily, the crowd would build to about sixty or seventy by the time that Ramona Falls took the stage. I saw quite a few nifty Halloween costumes as I sat and waited for the show to start: Elvira, 70's cop, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Carmen Miranda, Elliot from E.T. (the guy wore a red hoodie and carried around a plushie E.T. in a little plastic crate). The hands-down winner, however, was the lady dressed as a binder full of women. Almost as impressive were these guys who looked just like the Soft White Sixties. Of course, they benefited from the fact that they were the Soft White Sixties.
Local act Sleepy Seahorse opened the show. Joey Corsentino's hockey mask muffled his vocals slightly, but it did create the wonderful juxtaposition of Jason Voorhees singing like Michael Stipe (not to mention give me the chance to write down the horrible pun of Corsentino playing a really cool "axe"). Anyway, a highlight of this set was a solo-electric cover of the Talking Heads' "Wild Wild Life," and Corsentino's originals sounded as tuneful and incisive as ever.
Next up was Dark Swallows. I didn't recognize Ivy Meissner wandering around before the show with her blonde wig on and without her glasses. When she sang in her somberly transported moan, however, I couldn't have mistaken her for anyone else. Meanwhile, the band's rubbery basslines, indomitable drums and droning, howling, interweaving guitars sounded as hypnotic as they did at the Horse Feathers show back in August.
Ramona Falls took the stage dressed as the White Stripes and kicked off their set on a humorous note by playing a little bit of "Seven Nation Army." They shifted from there to a series of serenely urgent original tunes that sounded slightly classical (as in Mozart, not the Stones) but somehow avoided feeling too fussy or genteel. Brent Knopf's light but insistent murmur held plenty of charm but made it hard to hear the lyrics over the bar chatter. But then again, the easy, playful camaraderie between Knopf's forward-marching guitar and tender keyboard and Lauren Jacobsen's high harmonies and soaring electric violin sent a clearly positive message. So did the fact that, while Knopf may run the show, Jacobsen's violin took the lead throughout.
You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Duck Club Presents.