In deciding which shows to shoot on a given week, it sometimes just defaults to trying to grab the biggest name or biggest venue. But sometimes the gems are discovered at the smaller shows, the ones in which your attendance which can later be redeemed for bragging rights when that band explodes to make a bigger name for themselves. Judging by the response from the crowd at Cicero’s, Givers inaugural stop in St. Louis might turn out to be one of those gems.
Pittsburgh’s 1, 2, 3 opened as a new band to most but left leaving a good impression. With a new album out on Frenchkiss Records and a Daytrotter session under their belts, there’s ample ways to continue to get your 1, 2, 3 fix until they (hopefully) come back.
Pepper Rabbit took the stage next with large keyboards and a dreamy reverb sound, showcasing songs from their upcoming album Red Velvet Snow Ball (Kanine Records). Having toured with a pop pantheon of Ra Ra Riot, Passion Pit and Freelance Whales, the duo’s (playing as a trio that evening) psych-folk might be worth checking out.
Givers’ seemingly endless sound check was turning me into Mr. Crankypants but once the Louisiana indie popsters flipped the on switch, it was a marvelous jolt of percussion-tinged joy. The band is a wonderful cross-pollination of Vampire Weekend (in sound) and Ra Ra Riot (in youthful bounciness) and it didn’t take long for the suddenly crowded room to get sucked into the fun and energy. Singer/guitarist Taylor Guarisco brought his goofy grins and tongue wagging, counterbalanced by singer/percussionist Tiffany Lamson’s belting that brought applause. If Givers comes back to town, it’s probably won’t be at a small venue like Cicero’s, but rather somewhere larger like the Firebird or Off Broadway. Some folks were aiming their predictions even higher, but we’ll just have to wait and see how these next few months play out for the band.
Photo notes: Primes are usually the right choice for Cicero’s and the 50mm f1.4 was key, getting the nod over the 30mm with Pepper Rabbit’s wide setup as they faced each other and the upfront percussion blocking a lot of angles when shooting Givers’ Lamson. Bright front lights to start Givers’ set were a huge surprise, blowing out shots at f1.4, but were turned off shortly after to let the band actually see the dancing crowd before them.
Random notes: Possibly due to the recent storms, Cicero’s smelled like a sauna (old roller rink was also mentioned)… Guarisco has the tendency to roll his eyes back into his head when singing. It’s kind of creepy when looking at pictures…
The Administrative Stuff: