July 21, 2010
The High Dive
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Miniature Tigers July 21, 2010 The High Dive
July 21, 2010
The High Dive
The High Dive is quietly coming around as one of my favorite places to see a show in Seattle. The room is just spacious enough to never feel too crowded, has great sight lines, a pretty decent sound system, and they're booking fantastic bands these days, as evidenced by Miniature Tigers' set on Wednesday night.
On record, Miniature Tigers are a melodic masterpiece, floating between a dreamy, opiate-induced hazy warmth and amphetamine-laced, busting-at-the-seams jubilance that is equal parts innocent and decadent. Live, the band is a much different beast; the woozy, fuzzed out softness and textural elements get a little lost in translation, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Particularly, "Goldskull" (which found singer Charlie Brand stepping into the crowd and swaying back and forth while weaving in and out of hippies and sorority sisters) became a lot less druggy and more straightforward, like a slightly drunken house-party karaoke session.
However, on less woozy numbers like "Mansion of Mystery" and "Cannibal Queen", the band became much more powerful and turbo-charged. Frontman Charlie Brand and bassist Alex Gerber sleepily swagger and sway and do their respective things without ever getting too hyperactive, but drummer Rick Schaier and guitarist Algernon Quashie make up for it with goofy, giddy energy. With a great painting of Stanley Kubrick on his kick drum, Rick Schaier plays with a really odd drumming stance and style (open handed hi-hat playing, crossed-body ride cymbal playing... I've watched drummers for 20+ years now and have hardly ever seen that style) that sits just on the edge of technical and sloppy. It's totally perfect for this band and really adds to the "might fall apart at any minute" aspect of the Tigers. Add in Quashie's guitar playing (not particularly technically amazing, but the man's careful taste in parts and his choice in effects is immaculate), some drum machine/90's dance-track textures and sprinkle in a heavy dose of sugar-coated 50's esque "ooooh la la la" harmonies all over the place, and Miniature Tigers' contagious rave-ups and twangy, swaying numbers to make a perfect concoction of smart, forward-thinking pop.
Personal Bias:I actually was initially more interested in seeing openers The Spinto Band, who I apparently just missed. However, they turned out to be ridiculously nice guys who were sincerely fired up to be touring with Miniature Tigers. I jokingly asked them to ghost write their own review, and they mentioned that an entire cheerleading squad randomly showed up during their show and performed choreographed routines the whole time. I don't believe it for a second, but in my mind, it was a beautiful thing.
The Crowd: I'm still trying to figure out what the typical Fremont crowd is, but it looked like some formal dance/cocktail party had let out into the front 4 rows during Miniature Tigers. Who is wearing a dress to the High Dive these days? Apparently a lot of ladies who like Miniature Tigers, that's who. They were dancing and having a blast, so more power to 'em.
Random Notebook Dump: In the preview for this show, I made the mistake of saying Delaware (which I didn't believe existed at all) definitely didn't exist because they had no baseball team. I was made aware by the Spinto Band last night that not only do they have a team (The Wilmington Blue Rocks), but said team is also the farm team of my beloved Kansas City Royals. Not only do I feel like an ass, but I'm starting to believe Delaware might actually exist. Stay tuned.