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Bishop Allen, +/-, & Say Hi To Your Mom @ Satellite Ballroom

I've been a Say Hi To Your Mom fan since I first heard them in 2002 with the track, "The Fritz," and admittedly, I haven't liked what I've heard of their new album, Impeccable Blahs (and its predecessor, Ferocious Mopes) as much as I liked Numbers and Mumbles. Sorry?

Seeing them live, I was expecting a certain amount of inherent nerdy-ness/awkwardness, and Eric Elbogen very clearly provided. After every number, he would mumble "Thank you" into the microphone, and his bobbing up and down during their oh-so-slightly more danceable numbers was entirely adorable. (Not that he was kind enough to name any of his tour-mates)
However, it was pretty clear from the room's reaction (we were congratulated for clustering in front of the stage?) that the number of people who knew the band's work was pretty low. As someone who kind of did, I came quickly to the realization that the reason I hadn't liked the band's more recent work as much was that it was based more on a stronger live sound, not separate from Elbogen's recorded sound. If that didn't make any sense, basically I just need to give Say Hi To Your Mom's new stuff a second listen. But to generalize, the band was somewhat mediocre live.
Final comment: Seriously, the Bio on the band's website is getting old.

Say Hi To Your Mom - Your Brains vs. My Tractorbeam
Say Hi To Your Mom - Snowcones and Puppies

Buy Impeccable Blahs
Say Hi To Your Mom's Website / Myspace

+/-, also known as Plus/Minus, was up next. For some reason (I guess it was their use of sampling in "Let's Build A Fire") I was expecting something a little more sophisticated than your standard guitar/vocals (2 guitars, to be precise) + bass + drums (+ synthesizer) line-up. Oh well. The band did a good job replicating its recorded sound while still getting people to dance. Though I have to say, I wasn't so impressed by the pretentious vibe. It didn't help that their (guest?) guitarist was chewing gum and blowing bubbles the entire show. I'm thinking +/- wasn't a particularly good choice to tour with Bishop Allen?

Plus/Minus - One Day You'll Be There

Buy Let's Build A Fire
Plus/Minus's Website/Myspace

Finally, Bishop Allen arrived on stage to begin setting up as I used my position at the left (audience's perspective) end of the stage to watch. After some discussion with the guy on soundboard, the show began, reaching out until the band appearance merely a joyful explosion of noise. Justin Rice was a great source of entertainment throughout the show, looking entirely serious as he used his guitar strap to hide his acoustic guitar behind his back as he sang, and once even doing an emo-band style jump in the air, all while sweating profusely. Christian Rudder was quite the contrast to Rice, smiling good-naturedly and pulling out his ukulele for two numbers (and he smiled at me!).

During "Flight 180" Justin began to slow-dance with the nameless fellow (touring) band mate (Update: Darbie) playing what I think was a metallophone. "Click Click Click Click" was introduced as a song about meeting new people, "The Same Fire" was turned into a rather intense dance number, and "Little Black Ache" became a sing-a-long, with the audience shouting, "What you got?" Somewhere in the middle of the show, I started to become embarrassed by my knowledge of all the lyrics....

After a quiet rendition of "Butterfly Nets," the band disappeared, apparently to decide what songs they would play last. My request of "Things Are What You Make Of Them" was granted (yes, I know they probably would have played it no matter what), along with another song which has now slipped my mind. The (guest?) guitarist and drummer from +/- came to join Bishop Allen with maracas. Eric Elbogen also spent most of the set on the left side of the stage doing a dance that most closely resembled jumping up and down. Again, adorable.

Bishop Allen - Click Click Click Click (July EP)
Bishop Allen - Things Are What You Make of Them (Charm School)
Bishop Allen - Like Castanets (September EP)
Bishop Allen - Little Black Ache(Charm School)
Bishop Allen - The Same Fire (June EP)

Bishop Allen's Website/Myspace
Buy Charm School / 2006 EP series

I don't have any photos of the concert, but if you do, please send me an e-mail and I'll be glad to post them!

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6 Responses to “Bishop Allen, +/-, & Say Hi To Your Mom @ Satellite Ballroom”

  1. # Blogger Rich

    I went to this show in ATL, and really enjoyed it too. I wasn't as into +/- as I expected though. Sounds like you got a similar feeling. Maybe it's just the grind of touring, but I liked Bishop Allen a lot....  

  2. # Blogger Doug

    Um, hate to burst your bubble, but I could have told you before the show that they would have played "Things Are What You Make of Them" last - so, it was hardly due to your request.

    I went last night to the show here in DC and they did a similar set. Loved Bishop Allen. Though didn't care for +/-...and I'm a big fan and going in thought it to be a very good pairing for a billing. I didn't get the pretentious vibe, but they were just too loud and where's Pat Ramos? Hope he didn't quit the band...  

  3. # Blogger Kate

    That wasn't necessarily what I was asserting, just that I was glad the song got played. As for Ramos, I don't think he was at the show in Charlottesville...  

  4. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I saw SHTYM in Montreal last night and I really liked them. I'm a recent fan and am only familiar with Impeccable Blahs which I love dearly. There was definitely a primitive sound to the live show... like I was watching an "unpligged" version of them because of the limited number of synth and nerdy electronic sounds.

    But I liked it plenty.  

  5. # Blogger Sarah

    Listen: Bishop Allen - Rain (The Broken String):  

  6. # Blogger Sarah  

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