photos: cataldo, dent may, ac newman

eric anderson of cataldo // more in the show photoset [flickr]

On Saturday night I was expecting a two-pronged charm offensive: after all, one guy has “magnificent ukulele” in the title and the other is one of the best songwriters in this business and ringmaster of the always-enchanting collective of New Pornographers. Of course, they delivered. But the wild card was opener Cataldo, a band whose dreamy peanut-butter picnic melodies have been hiding right here in Seattle. Because I’m incurably tardy, I often wind up missing the first act in a perfect storm of poor-planning and bad-guessing; so I was glad to arrive just in time for their late start. Frontman Eric Anderson had recently shaved his beard to try to get a job (anyone with connections at Molly Moon’s house of creamy deliciousness is encouraged to assist) and was playing for the first time with a new collection of bandmates. It seemed like quite a success: at the end of the show the stage was nearly swarmed by a queue of other early arrivers bearing compliments and questions.

dent may + ukulele, more in the show photoset [flickr]

Dent May, his Magnificent Ukulele, and the rest of his non-ukulele bearing band have the wisdom to know that you can’t force a dance party, but they are also bright enough to guess that if you sing a song about that true fact a dance party might just find its way to you. While the whole of Neumo’s did not turn into a wild mix of Oscar caliber dance numbers, but more than a few pods of enthusiastic bouncing did bubble through the crowd. In Seattle for the first time, the Mississippians bought a new feathered ukulele and stimulated the local smile economy with troubadour storytelling, singalongs, whistling harmonies, and a drummer playing his floor tom with a maraca.

ac newman, more in the show photoset [flickr]

Continuing the trend of bands named after one guy but actually featuring a whole bunch of people, AC Newman arrived with at least six other musicians as back-up bearing trumpets, keyboards, fleugelhorns, drums, recorders, violins, and extra guitars. I think that they ran through all of their songs (reserving “On the Table”, famous in my digital world for having been the longtime first alphabetical track on my iPod due to an ID3 quirk, for last and encoring with “Town Halo”) in a tight set broken only by a cute explanation of the unexpected coincidence of using a random name in a song and then winding up marrying a non-random woman with the same name whose mother happens to love Scott Bakula. Trust me when I promise that it was a better story when Carl told it.

1 Comment so far

  1. mnlrs on February 24th, 2009 @ 9:31 am

    Thanks Josh (and metro blogs) for the tickets to this show! It was an excellent show start to finish. I’m proud to say i was one of the few dancing.

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