26 March 2006

The Elected / The Magic Numbers

The Elected may be the weirdest band I've seen live. Their fairly middle-of-the-road indie pop sound is obscured by their unreconstructed, unironic hippie look, and their lead singer is either rockin' the gay cowboy look, or a girl wearing a mustache. This'd all be fine on a band with some musical personality to back it up, but given a serious lack thereof, it's friggin distracting! But for an opener at the Paradise, they seemed to have a pretty strong following. What am I missing about this band?

They made for a contrast with The Magic Numbers, though, who except for Romeo's teddy bear suits have a very low-key, unstyled stage presence backed by a seriously exuberant sound. Vocally they seem to owe something to the school of British folk that was the original material of bluegrass or Appalachian folk, but I don't know enough about the technicals of either to pin down specific resemblances.

My favorite thing about The Magic Numbers live this time was the same as my favorite thing the first time I saw them: the bassist, Michele. Onstage she seems unselfconscious and focused, jamming to the patterns in her head and smiling when she notices the audience is too. It's lovely to see a woman so comfortable, undramatic, un-pigeonholed on stage--and the fact that her bass lines are nicely agile doesn't hurt, either.


Jerad said...

Argh. I didn't notice that the Magic Numbers were coming through town! Their new album is one of the few fun records I've picked up lately. I hope the show was equally as smiley!

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