Thursday, March 3, 2011

LIVE REVIEW: Paper Tongues @ Slim’s

LIVE REVIEW: Neon Trees, Civil Twilight, Paper Tongues @ Slim’s 7/27/2010

The City’s main alt-rock radio station, Live 105, presented us with the “Bang the Gong” tour at Slim’s this week, a tour featuring some of 2010′s newest big names: Neon Trees, Civil Twilight, and Paper Tongues.

Slim’s was already filled to the brim by 8:30 PM, but the opening band, Pacific Hurt, didn’t do much to lift the mood. Their music was slow, redundant, and pretty uninspiring. I noticed no hooks or catchy melodies during their half hour performance.

Soon afterward, thankfully, Paper Tongues took the stage, and started rocking the crowd. Aswan North, the main singer of the band, has an amazingly strong voice, and was certainly the highlight of the night in terms of vocals. The music was good overall, but at times it seemed that the orchestration was not on par with North’s vocals.

Civil Twilight, a 3-piece rock band from South Africa, was quite the interesting twist on the night. Their songs were mostly slow, but with more playful guitar riffs, so they had a completely different effect on the crowd — sorta like a shoegazing version of Coldplay. The singer played both the keys and the bass, but I personally preferred the songs where he was jamming on bass, and their guitarist, one of the most focused, talented gents of the night.

Neon Trees were rightfully the big name of the evening, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. Their flamboyant singer made sure to transcend the crowd into another state of consciousness with his amazing energy, and completely crazy dance moves . That guy is a real showman. He’s got “it,” that little thing that separates plain Joe performer from super-star. Their songs were a little more more dancey than on the album, and the drums took center stage (whereas they sounded mute on the album), but that was certainly alright with me.

Overall, Neon Trees would be the band to re-watch, and maybe even buy their live CD or DVD too. If they come to your town, they should not be missed. Civil Twilight is the band to keep an eye on. Buy their next album, and hope it’s as delightfully shoegazing as their live performance was. Paper Tongues have a future too, but only if the rest of the 6 musicians in the band also play some interesting music, rather than just play back-up support to North’s voice.

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