Monday, June 17, 2013
The Very Most, PETS, the Dirty Moogs and Hey V Kay @ the Crux (6/14/13)
I've always liked the Very Most, but I hadn't written about them in over a year. This show attracted my interest for that reason and also because it celebrated the release of their new EP Just a Pup. The presence on the bill of the Dirty Moogs, whom I also hadn't written about in a good while, and Hey V Kay, one of my favorite local acts, didn't hurt either.
I counted eleven people when I got to the Crux. The audience would peak at about forty-five, by my estimate. The Very Most didn't play until around 11:40, but over thirty people stuck around to watch them. Pretty good.
Hey V Kay opened the show. Karen Havey told the crowd up front that she'd come down with a cold and apologized if she sounded nasally. Given her low, breathy singing style, however, I couldn't hear much of a difference. Indeed, her voice, her melancholy tunes, her dance-worthy beats and Owen Havey's elegant guitar lines all sounded as irresistible as ever. "Middle-Class Sweetheart" was as impressive here as it was at Treefort, and a frantic, intricately crafted new number matched both it and the older material. The cherry on top was a swooning, disco-ish take on Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." I've said it before and I'll say it again: Hey V Kay needs to do a covers album.
The Dirty Moogs played next. In keeping with the Very Most's sunny pop sound, the Moogs opted to twee things up here: tinkling keyboards, purposely dinky beats, even an acoustic guitar. That the songs held up under the cutesification was a testament to their charm and craftsmanship. Having Gia Trotter sing harmony on "Julie's an Android" was an especially nice touch.
After a DJ set by Discoma a.k.a. Jake Hite, PETS played. I can't think of any other group that could call to mind both Beat Happening and the Ohio Players. Melodic, buoyant basslines and smooth, steady drums anchored ringing guitar and high, murmured vocals. I couldn't make out all of the lyrics, but what I heard didn't threaten to turn my stomach (not even the song about drinking apple juice). Twee but funky: a very interesting combination.
Jeremy Jensen dropped a bomb near the end of the Very Most's set: he announced that this might be the band's last live performance ever. That'd be too bad, but happily, he mentioned afterwards that they still planned to record. Besides, they picked a good show to go out on. The groove between Jake Hite's lean, swinging drums, Brion Rushton's driving basslines and the Jensen brothers' elegant, jangling guitars felt as lived-in and comfortable as your favorite sweater. In addition to her usual gorgeous harmonies, Gia Trotter took the lead on "It's Not Unusual" and brought a nice bit of sultriness to it. Last but not least, the melodies sounded as sweet and fresh as I remembered. Congratulations indeed.
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