Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stars Of Track And Field @Mercury Lounge, Oct. 6th

I got hooked up tonight with a pair of tickets to see Stars Of Track And Field, a three-piece band from Portland, OR, which I had previously caught a bit of a few years ago opening for The Long Winters. I recall liking them immensely despite only hearing perhaps two or three songs back then, impressed by how just two guitars and a drum kit sounded like they were playing the biggest stadium. I ended up buying their first album, Centuries Before Love And War, that evening and particularly liked the song "Movies Of Antarctica." I was excited to hear them kick off this evening's set of ten songs with that very cut, followed by a mix of old and new from their latest, A Time For Lions.

Their music is simultaneously well-crafted yet raw. Apparently, they employ a backing digital bass track from a laptop, which at times might earn comparison to The Postal Service, but then they augment it with the contrasting guitars of Kevin Calaba and Jason Bell, giving it an anthemic quality which really comes through in their live performance. I was reminded of The Stills with a touch of early Snow Patrol thrown in. Their final song, "Racing Lights," proved an excellent closer, as it really demonstrated their ability to go completely full-energy, leaving me quite happy to have finally experienced them fully. Those guys really throw themselves into the music, yet remain grounded in their attitude.

Oddly enough, these guys were the opener for this act I had never heard of before -- this woman/band called Lights, a 22 year old Canadian who performs pop/dance/electronica on keyboards and the keytar while looking like she stepped out of an American Apparel ad. Weirdest billing pairing ever! As stated on her MySpace, "[she tries] to find sounds that seem like they could have been plucked from Saturn's rings or a meteor belt." Uh, okay. What bewildered Shana and me the most was that the crowd was decidedly there for her -- the number of seemingly hetero-boys singing along to every word was quite astounding. Who is this chick? It was as though a few unicorns jumping over rainbows farted, and we decided it was too incredibly cute to bear, at least beyond four songs, so we skipped town and grabbed an early dinner of poutine, also Canadian quite coincidentally. Sorry, but not our cup of cute.

No comments: