15 June 2006

Smoosh/Eels @ Somerville Theater

Smoosh was pretty good--the young voices are obvious, and the set was kinda uneven, but I guess they're allowed not to have enough material for a solid set at this point. (Regardless, though, somebody should really tell them not to sing that "uh-huh yo" song. Although I guess they have to have one song that they can be utterly mortified about in a few years.) They seem very comfortable onstage, and Chloe already has the inward-focused look that drummers get.

Eels opened with some raucous guitaring and strobe lights, while one of their number (whom I shall call Jeff because he looks like a Jeff to me--big bald bruiser with muttonchops, a black SECURITY t-shirt, and Oakley-type sunglasses) stood onstage with his arms folded and looked impossibly security-esque. The band's uniform appeared to be black, sunglasses, and experimental or extreme facial hair--the drummer in particular was rocking the Confederate General look in a brass-button jacket and Civil War-style hat, plus aviator sunglasses and lots of hair (was it Puddin? hard to tell under all that). E as always was unique in a ski cap, aviator goggles on his head, and singularly goggley sunglasses on his eyes. Muttonchops Jeff made the show interesting by doing weight-lifting routines and boxing practice to the songs--besides making obscure pronouncements very loudly between songs ("I know the deal when I see the deal, and this is the deal!") and hopping up and down with Chloe and Asya during the encore performance of "I Like Birds." He was bewildering, disconnected, and funny.

It was a fun show to be at, but musically weak, I think. "My Beloved Monster" was played so damn fast it was nearly unrecognizable--still enjoyable, but unrecognizable; while "Last Stop, This Town" was done so gently as to take most of the bounce and joy out of it. I suspect, at this show at least, that Eels was trying so hard to rock out that the music didn't get played to its best advantage--the first few songs particularly were just a wall of sound, loud and monolithic.

But I'm not sorry I saw them--it was a good time, even if I don't think they did right by most of their songs.


Charles Olney said...

I was at the show too, and I thought it was extremely unpleasant. I've been a huge Eels fan for a decade, but I would have walked out halfway through if I wasn't stuck in the middle of a ton of people. Very disappointing.

Queen of Sheba said...

I don't think I'd go so far as extremely unpleasant--I had earplugs (necessary at pretty much all live shows) and they did have that consolation prize of live music, "good energy." Better than nothing.