Friday, March 5, 2010

100 Shows of 2010 - #1: Title Tracks/Pretty and Nice @ Gallery 5, 3/2/10

And so it begins. Having just relocated from Richmond, it seemed somehow fitting to begin the odyssey at Gallery 5, one of Richmond’s most unique venues (and one of a shrinking handful of good venues in RVA). Throw in a pair of great bands, Title Tracks and Pretty & Nice, and it was a recipe for one swimmingly super night.

MINI RECAP: Pretty & Nice = Hell yes. Title Tracks = Hell yes. Tales of touring the FBI building = Hell yes. Overall score: A.

The night started off with a dark, stormy sky and a harrowing, snow-filled drive down 95 into Richmond. I needed a hot chocolate from Ellwood’s (some of the best hot chocolate in the whole city) to help me recover before heading downtown to the action at Gallery 5.

After a warm-up set from locals Last Century, the real fun began when Pretty & Nice took to the stage. “Bring it On,” quoth the bright red Pokemon tee worn by singer-guitarist Jeremy, and bring it on they certainly did. I was already a fan of Pretty & Nice, having trekked all over Austin one rather warm afternoon to see a set of theirs. Their scrumptiously jaunty rocking out and winning onstage personas won me over then, and seeing them again only made my heart grow fonder. Pretty & Nice is totally ridiculous live, posturing and posing all over the place and partaking in seriously hilarious facial contortions. But if there’s another band out there that seems to have more fun than they do playing live, I’m not sure I can name them. Are they faking it? Doubtful. The Bostonian foursome seems full of glee when playing. They even excel at falsetto, and lord knows I love me some good falsetto. “Are we too loud, you guys?” they inquired halfway in. They cajoled and coerced the assembled party into coming closer, saying “we love you very much.” We obliged, and soon people were dancing along to the buoyant jangle coming from the stage. My final note on the Pretty & Nice set was this: If you don’t crack a smile at a Pretty & Nice show, there might be something wrong with you.

After a brief intermission, including time spent talking with Jeremy of P & N about touring the FBI HQ and other bemusing topics, it was time for Title Tracks, and the night got even better. 35 seconds into their set I was totally in smit with the adorable pop coming from the stage, so sweet and addictive it was like the sonic equivalent of high fructose corn syrup (though a lot better for you, of course). But in terms of being addicting, they’ve got it down my friends. Title Tracks’ set made me think of great early 60s pop, so cute and so innocent yet precocious under the surface. If only they’d been wearing matching suits and had the bowl haircuts…ok, that might actually have been overkill. With their musical pedigree (DC stalwarts Q & Not U for one) it was a little surprising to hear such sweetness without a trace of an edge, but I for one loved it. I’m guessing the dudes standing near me dancing around like Stone Roses fans from 1993 probably did, too. The set flew by in a flash, which I suppose falls under the ole performer’s motto of leaving them wanting more. From “Found Out” to “It’s Wrong” (a super new song!) to “It Was Easy,” Title Tracks absolutely knocked it out of the park. I’ll be seeing them again, and if you’ve got any sense, you’ll go see them whenever you get the chance.

mp3: Every Little Bit Hurts (Title Tracks from It Was Easy)

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