Technicians - An ambitious start for the Technicians; smoke machine and feedback. Their clean cut appearance is counter intuitive as the doom and gloom begin early. The smoke machine continues to cough at interment bursts and the room begins to fill out. It's an interesting beginning to the night; it's a sound I haven't heard for some time nor is it one that is duplicated often. They remind me of a mid-nineties band, a mid level band that had some success but we're never selling out stadiums. Something that should have been on the soundtrack to the wholly unnecessary sequel to The Crow; The Crow: City of Angels. It's telling as that particular time in 'alternative' radio was confusing and forgettable at best and I feel that sometimes The Technicians can be somewhat confusing as their sound, while proficient, can be all over the place; overtly excessive base lines, cow bells, uninspired guitar solos, screaming vocals followed by more measured outbursts. They are taking, borrowing, and grabbing from tons of resources and I am not quite sure if it has coalesced into their own unique sound yet. That said those influences are certainly interesting choices and with some experience I am sure it will he just that, interesting.
The Kickback - Lots less bells and whistles for Chicago natives, The Kickback. No smoke machine but with the time it took to set up, it felt like it there would be thousands. Lots of down time. This is fun. Nothing bad can come of good crowd work. Tonight there have been inquiries about anabolic steroids, declarations of pushups, introductions to mothers, and references to Twin Peaks. What more could you ask for? This comfort shines through in their music. It's loud and soft all at the same time. Hints of The Police and Helmet. Occasionally a keyboard, tucked away in the corner, spits out harmonies.
I have seen bands fail at getting an apathetic crowd to respond with simple acknowledgement. Color me super impressed when The Kickback convinces everyone on the floor to dance. That said I guess they most remind me of a less angsty Cursive; never taking themselves too seriously and actually enjoying playing for a receptive (and still dancing) crowd.
Color Palette - Another impossibly long intermission. I'm not faulting anyone, I just want to complain, but at least the smoke machine returned. I guess it looks cool but at some point it just seems unnecessary. I wonder what, if any, advantages to playing with a smoke machine are? I don't know what I can really add in regards to David'searlier review from last year as he nailed it on the head; warm. The music is inviting and familiar. The sound design and keyboard choices really help with that feeling of warmth; the pads are not dissimilar to a worn in couch, a sense of security. Guitar reminds me of Failure; dark, melodic, but with an unmistakably pop undertone. There is some Cure here too and that’s never a bad thing. Considering how young Color Palette is, it's amazing how polished they are. They put on an experienced, measured, and most importantly good set tonight.
Quote of the Night - from The Kickback:
"Well we are trying to solve people's relationship problems in between songs"
"This song is about heroin addiction"