The Blind Nils @ Cicero’s } 01.25.11

The Blind Nils @ Cicero's - 01.25.10

The running joke early that evening was people’s guesses as to how long it would take The Blind Nils, the middle act for this evening, to clear the room of all the high schoolers at Cicero’s there to see the first act. Turns out, it didn’t take very long at all. Too bad, since The Blind Nils’ somber folk would probably be something some of those kids would be running back to in 10 years.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. @ Cicero’s } 9.16.10

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. @ Cicero's - 9.16.10

I really wish St. Louis could have given the Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. a better ending to their tour, but their set at PLAY:stl10 threw a few kinks at the band. To be clear, DEJJ did nothing wrong. Many were impressed with electronic pop that sounds something like The Postal Service meets Motown meets folk meets The Beach Boys meets NASCAR. They even did a fantastic cover of “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, which is always an immediate way to my heart.

Unfortunately their laid back electro-jams seemed oddly placed after the high-energy stage antics of The Poison Control Center, and to make things worse, Progress In Color (who followed DEJJ) awkwardly came in mid-set to stack their gear in front of the stage, keeping listeners at a distance and disrupting any intimacy the duo was trying to build. Thankfully, the tunes of DEJJ blissfully float and penetrate such obstacles, always reaching their intended target, whether to mesmerize you into nodding your head or warming your heart. Their  song “Nothing But Our Love” ends with a line about how we sometimes get more than what we deserve. I felt like that last night; we definitely didn’t deserve a great set by DEJJ, but they certainly treated us to one.

More pics and talk after the jump:

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The Poison Control Center @ Cicero’s } 9.16.10

The Poison Control Center @ Cicero's - 9.16.10

Even if you own a copy of Sad Sour Future, your experience of The Poison Control Center is vastly incomplete without a trip to see them live. While Sad Sour Future has its louder moments, flashes of aggression always feel kept in check by an Elephant 6 filter. Even during the moments of guitar feedback or shouting, melodic trumpets or acoustic guitars can still be definitively heard, grounding the songs and maintaining the pop peace. But opening the night at Cicero’s for PLAY:stl10, The Poison Control Center showed that their live performances remove those filters and hold nothing back. Guitarist/vocalist Patrick Fleming launched himself around the stage and several times into the crowd, continuing to shred his guitar while sprawled out on the floor. And joined with guitarist/vocalist Devin Frank, the pair demonstrated uncanny guitar feats whether playing upside down or while doing the splits. It’s unfortunate that their early time slot resulted in a sparse crowd, but at the end of their set, you could easily tell that The Poison Control Center had completely won over everyone in the room that evening.

More notes and acrobatics after the jump.

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The Dive Poets @ Cicero’s } 7.22.10

You’re probably doing a good job if most of the crowd is dancing. And that’s what I walked into as I came in mid-set for the local band, The Dive Poets. A little country, a little rock, a lot of feet moving and even more smiles on the faces in the crowd. Good vibes all around. More talk from the band here.

Definitely a solid opener for The Futurebirds. Check out their picture set here.

A few more pics after the jump.

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Futurebirds @ Cicero’s } 7.23.10

After hearing their name buzzed around a few times the day before, I decided to go check out the Futurebirds show happening over at Cicero’s. Do me a favor – keep talking about this band from Athens, GA. Somewhere between the intersection of folk harmonies and guitar feedback fuzz, the Futurebirds reside and brought a great mood to the room. It’s really neat to see a band that knows how to bring energy to their set without necessarily sacrificing the melody and music to do so.

Head on over to their Bandcamp site, where you can even download an EP for free (or any price you want). Their new album, Hampton’s Lullaby, comes out on July 27 on Autumn Tone Records.

More pictures after the jump.

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