img237-795035Last Saturday, May 9th, I went to see Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s at The Orpheum Stagedoor. I had first discovered the band a little over a year ago when I saw their video for “Quiet as a Mouse” on a DVD sampler. I loved the video and immediately went to the video store and bought the CD, every song was a gem. Quiet, emotional folk-tinged music.

Starting out their live show were some newer songs. If they are any indication, you can expect their next CD to be a less quiet affair. Electric guitar seems to have been heavily added to the mix even in the performances of tracks from “The Dust of Retreat.”

Did I mention that this was a big band? It really is. We are talking about an 8-piece band with two guitarist’s, two bassists, two drummers (okay, one plays drums, the other bangs on a wide assortment of things while performing other strange rites), a violinist/lap steal guitarist, a keyboardist and a brass player. Stealing the show, for me at least, were Hubert Glover (the brass player) and Casey Tennis (the aforementioned jack-of-all-trade’s percussionist). Not only does the brass give the band a sound that is often looked over by today’s bands, but Glover’s collection of instruments lent a distinct visual flair to the performance. Mr. Tennis…well he seems like a strange, squirrelly fellow. He had some sort of design written on his face, and the strange bravado the went into each often overexaggerated swing of the mallet or shake of the…shaker commanded attention. Did I mention that the entire band came on stage wearing animal mask’s, with Richard Edwards (the singer and guitarist) dressed as an expeditionist (not exhibitionist)? They did, but it didn’t take long for the masks (including Glover’s cigarette-enhanced white tiger mask) to come off. It was then that I took note that the memebers of this band looked nothing like I had envisioned them to. I expected some sort of well dressed band with trendy haircuts, instead I was pleasantly surprised to see a group of gangly fellows (and one lady) with the half-strung-out look of a grunge band.

There was a good blend of new and old material, jumping back and forth between the two in a bi-polar spree. At the end of the show, Edwards simply got up onto the mic with an acoustic guitar and kept on doing songs as much of the rest of the band quietly took apart and put away the stage. Tennis would occasionally shake a cymbal or something to the beat of the music as he packed away his playpen of toys, occasionally joining Edwards. One of the last songs played was a tribute cover of “He’s on drugs again” by LonPaul, a fellow musician and friend that had died a few days prior. Footage of the song is viewable on the YouTube clip below.

Some bands are better live. Some bands are worse. In the case of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, they are a completely different animal altogether.

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