More about: The Dears
In just over six months, Montrealâ€™s The Dears have achieved a level of success that has seen them graduate from playing in front of a few dozen onlookers (19 October 2004 show at Double Door) to enrapturing the capacity crowd at the Metro tonight. You know youâ€™ve arrived when jocks in baseball caps take up residency at the front of the stage and beg your drummer for a shot of Jameson for the celebratory encore. Itâ€™s boozing that precludes us from seeing most of the set from openers, LA band Marjorie Fair, but the bandâ€™s sound, a swirling mesh of influences â€“ heavy on the Wilco â€“ is pleasing to the ear.
Their album is called 'Howl Howl Gaff Gaff'. Their single â€“ to be performed on The Late Show with David Letterman this Thursday (June 9th) â€“ is called 'Very Loud'. Theyâ€™re called The Shout Out Louds. All the ingredients for an early afternoon second stage act at the Warped Tour, right? Think again. Their keyboardist/xylophonist looks like a runaway from The Concretes in her Nordic toga. And tonight, they donâ€™t even have a drummer. â€œWe are sorry to tell you this,â€ says singer Adam Olenius, â€œbut our drummer is at a wedding. It is not for him, it is for his brother, so do not worry, ladies.â€ They proceed to play the entirety of their melodic set, with the exception of the last song, backed only by a drum machine, one prompted by a shadowy figure in the soundbooth. It sounds better than it should. For the last song, Dears drummer and Jameson dispenser, George Donoso III, fills in the backbeat and the full dynamic of the Shout Out Louds arrives like a burst of sun through muddled fog â€“ something like a Stockholm winter.
The Dears have smoke and mirrors now â€“ fog machines and light shows. The song with which they open, built around a bedrock chorus that has Murray Lightburn crooning, â€œyou and I / are the same,â€ sounds familiar and vital, like something Seal might have done before he pushed schmaltz on Batman soundtracks. Signature single 'Lost In The Plot' is dismissed early â€“ itâ€™s the second song they play. Thereâ€™s a lot of coy posing from the comely keyboardist â€“ knowing winks, stolen glances. Wonder if sheâ€™ll keep this up for 'We Can Have It', the sad, hushed lullaby that sets the morose tone for 'No Cities Left'.
Alright, theyâ€™re playing it now. Sheâ€™s stoic, cool. But wait, do you hear that? Whatâ€™s that sound? Thereâ€™s Murray singing, but thereâ€™s something else, some shrill noise, competing. â€œLast night all the horrible / Things in life stormed through my dreams.â€ Keep singing, Murray. We can barely hear you, but keep it up. Big guy in the first row, I know youâ€™re hearing it. You keep turning around. Turning around to cast derision, to throw scorn at the girl in the third row who will not stop screeching OMIGOD WHATEVERS into something, either her mobile phoneâ€™s mouthpiece or her sounding board friend. Look at the big guy, heâ€™s singing along with Murray. â€œAnd I just wantâ€¦to SHUT IT UPâ€¦shut it downâ€¦or shut it off.â€ Believe it or not, this soul-destroying display of TALKING LOUDLY WHILE THE QUIET SONG IS PLAYING continues right up to the end, itâ€™s most dignified part, the eerie vocals-only closing refrain: â€œIt wonâ€™t ever be what we wantâ€¦.â€ SO I WAS THINKING LIKE YEAH MAYBE WE COULDâ€”â€œIt wonâ€™t ever be what we wantâ€¦â€â€”AND Iâ€™M LIKE DUHâ€¦YOU MARRIED A SHORT MANâ€”â€œIt wonâ€™t ever be what we wantâ€¦â€â€”SO I SAID TO HIM â€˜NO WONDER YOU DONâ€™T HAVE A GIRLFRIENDâ€™â€”â€œIt wonâ€™t ever be what we want.â€
Show-going utopia â€“ it wonâ€™t ever be what we want.
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More about: The Dears