Berkeley's The Morning Benders headlined the Crocodile on Friday night.
On Friday night I made it to the Crocodile just in time to see the Phoenix quartet Miniature Tigers open for the Morning Benders. One of these bands I'd never heard of; one I've been following for a couple weeks now. One of these bands blew me away; the other made me wonder if this was the first show they'd ever played.
Who made the grade? Read my full review and check out more photos of the show from Alex Crick after the jump.
Mini's T's front man Charlie Brand.
Miniature Tigers have apparently won favorable reviews from Spin, but here's a note I made during their set: "Mini-T's, even your rainstick and matching T-shirts couldn't make up for the fact that your rhythms were unsteady and your vocals unpracticed and a little silly." As my friend Jared expounded, their music was the kind of thing that guy from Scrubs would choose if he were making the soundtrack to Bottle Rocket. Don't try to take that as a compliment either. Grade: D.
The Morning Benders' personable and hugely talented Chris Chu.
The Morning Benders provided a stark and much-needed contrast. Sometimes I forget how amazing it is to watch a group of musicians who, more than just out to have a good time, are actually deftly, technically, and impressively great at playing their instruments and nailing their songs live. The Benders' lead singer Chris Chu is a spidery little man who can play the hell out of his Hohner hollowbody and has some of the most magnetizing stage presence I've seen. Chu has a flexible voice and just the right balance of charisma and cockiness needed to make him an indie-rock hero. I've been enjoying the band's latest record, Big Echo, but hearing and seeing the songs played live made me love it ten times more. Grade: A+.