Review: Yeah, an all-girl band

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Steve Kirkvold - The Galaxie 500 Mailing List / 23rd June 2003

I made the arduous road trip to Chicago for Saturday’s show at the Double Door, and it was well worth the effort. Beforehand, I stopped at Lorraine’s Diner, a greasy spoon, for some grub. Never again. I asked about their mashed potatoes, if they were real or boxed. The waitress consulted with a greasy guy and told me they were canned. So I got the veggie omelet instead, which had more grease than egg. I got to the venue and found a spot to sit close to the stage for the warm-ups, The area smelled like a combination of stale cigarette smoke and fetid urine, but hey - that’s all just rock and roll.

The opening act was Gabardine, from Chicago. They played somber, melancholy, melodic music, similar to Low but with the gaps filled in very beautifully; and featured an amply-bosomed cellist. Other oddities: kazoo, tiny piano, xylophone, and a killer E-bow on guitar. Very good music, but not meant for a bar loaded with clanking bottles and sorority chatterboxes. They have an EP available and an album made, but no one has picked them up yet.

Oddly (or perhaps predicably) enough, the crowd shut up for Nash Kato, former Urge Overkill guy, who played an acoustic set. I concluded that I must have different taste in music from all the svelte 23-year-old women that were there, because they sure fawned over the guy’s music while hardly even opeing their ears for Gabardine, who I thought was far superior.

Dean & Britta took the stage at 12:30, with Dean sporting his normal attire and controlled bedhead. Britta wore a white blouse with ultratight black pants and open-toed heels, and a just-rolled-out-of-bed hairdo. Lara had pants that matched Britta’s, which was nice. I couldn’t see the drummer much. Dean & Britta were both sleepy-eyed during those rare moments they actually had their eyes open. They hit their stride immediately on the opener, “Night Nurse”, soaking the venue with a very fresh sounding number that sounded a little different from the album track. There were some other highlights, including Britta’s lovely “Your Baby” (except for the a-holes in the crowd wondering about the pre-recorded bass), where she seemed to have an I-don’t-care stance but looked and sounded delicious; Moonshot (the best song of the night, with Dean & Britta’s harmonies giving me chills, as well as Dean’s guitar at the end); and Knives of Bavaria, where Britta succulently dished out what appeared to be a pretty tricky melody from her bass. I thought it was also nice to see Britta shrouded under blue light for the show, but more attention to isolation of just her on her two main songs would have been more poignant. The show was a quick hour and five minutes, but was full of great music and only a couple disappointments (more of Dean’s guitar mastery would have been great).

Other stuff: Early on, someone from the crowd shouted, “Nice ladies, Dean!” He smiled and said, “Yeah, an all-girl band.” Someone also asked, “What’s up with Luna?”, and Dean said they were practicing. There was the ubiquitous, “I love you Britta!” a couple times too. After the show, they stuck around to say hi, which was nice. I also met three other fans from Omaha there, which was a nice surprise. When I returned to my car, I had a memorable encounter with Chicago’s finest, who just about hauled me away in the paddywagon for attempting to urinate in a back alley. As it was, they left me with nothing more than a “Have a nice night” and the inability to pee for the next two hours.

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