John Roderick can charm the pants off a crowd. I first encountered his top-notch banter last summer briefly at the Revenge of the Book Eaters benefit during which he entertained the crowd with a few solo acoustic songs. Tonight at the Merc, he brought his same easy style in the form of his band, The Long Winters. For ninety minutes, he and the band drove through a solid, fun set of tightly written pop/rock melodies that have been compared to early R.E.M. and (perhaps unfairly) the Counting Crows. Andie thought that one of the songs sounded like Flaming Lips as well.
Whomever they remind you of, The Long Winters manage to sound interesting and engaging with lyrics worth exploring. And their lead singer/songwriter, the would-be High School English teacher, makes them worth catching live. He makes smart totally sexy!
Here's a clip of their song "Seven":
The girls and I missed most of the opener, Stars Of Track and Field, cos we decided to indulge in dinner and dessert, but the two minutes we did hear was fantastic. They managed to create a big sound with only three people on stage. Love that. I hope I can catch them again in the future. Wawa really was enthused about them.
The other opener was less to sneeze about. The Broken West were musically solid, but a bit blah. I heard some '70s influence with some Replacements mixed in, but we were a tad underwhelmed. Oh well!