Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bad Veins at the Rock and Roll Hotel 2/13

If it weren’t for the heavily-accented crowd banter that came from We Were Promised Jetpacks, you would have trouble guessing which act on Saturday actually came from Scotland. Although Bad Veins are from Cincinnati, Benjamin Davis and Sebastien Shultz have that signature Glaswegian drive.

With just two of them on stage, they looked quite appropriate in the already equipment-crowded, basement-show feel of the Rock and Roll Hotel. And as soon as the show started (after a rather lengthy and what seemed to be stressful soundcheck), I found myself asking, “Where is all that sound coming from?” Not to say that lots of sound makes for good music, but the sheer amount of music they were able to generate between just the two of them was impressive. I don't even mean the question rhetorically. There was a lot more going on than the guitar and drums they were playing, and from what I could infer, the sound was coming from this thing .

Between the reel recorder and an old telephone which he rigged in a way that he could sing through the ear piece and become Julian Casablancas, Davis’ shows a propensity for techy quirks. More importantly, though, he shows a desire to find a way to diversify their sound. Bad Veins, particularly when they play a show with sloppy sound checks and in close quarters, run the risk of falling into the infectiously poppy and annoyingly distorted line of bands. Davis has the vocal range and control to fill an arena with sound, but Saturday night it was coming at me from point blank range.

I think that Bad Veins have a more nuanced and interesting sound than maybe the show delivered. Regardless, the delivery was very tight, and you could tell that these guys, even in their relative inexperience, were suited to performing. Free of any pompous, rock star-esque demeanor (unlike some certain other duos from Ohio), Davis let the intuitive pop qualities of his songs carry the show, aided by astonishingly accurate vocals and whatever that reel recorder 4-track thinga-ma-bob was doing.

Igor German
Is this Thing On airs Wed 9-10 pm and Sun 12-1 pm

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