Written by Todd Spoth
Mar 09, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageBefore we engage in a rousing discussion of the night’s events, proper respects should be afforded to the staff of the Meridian for providing me with free, close and safe parking. It’s nice to be able to enjoy (or not enjoy) a show without the constant worry of getting broken into or towed. You guys that remember parking at Instant Karma, Urban Underground or Fitzgerald’s feel me here. I’ve also grown to love the venues spacious multiple rooms and bathrooms with multiple stalls. There are always plenty of places to sit or lounge between sets at this one.

As we worked in the first band, The Spill Canvas was a few songs into their set. These guys were great. Downtempo rock with a sound all their own. I was given a copy of their newest LP, One Fell Swoop (One Eleven Records, 2005) to review and I must say, I am definitely impressed from what I’ve heard thus far. The disc includes bonus tracks and DVD footage that can be accessed via computer as well as a hefty label sampler.

The Plain White T’s were up second and to think I was excited when they took the stage. They were from Chicago, had a non-instrumental frontman, and even wore bright colored attire to provide contrast from the dark background, but they were decent at very best. Frontman, Tom Higgenson, told the audience that he wore his only Texas shirt just for them; however we all know that’s crap. I’ve been on tour, and I can tell you firsthand that he’s had that same shirt on for at least a week. Higgenson was seemingly energetic, but the rest of the band looked terribly bored. In short, The Plain White T’s, produced nothing more than a plain sound.

Ok Go, Swedish retro-rock outfit, performed next, and perform they did. The blazer clad foursome was creatively lit by projections of what looked like a montage of vintage wallpaper samples. Upon closer inspection, the band’s website reveals a similar theme. They’re songs, including the hit, “Get Over It” were for the most part, catchy. They were having fun, so we had fun with them. They even worked in a nice ELO cover. After their last song and a brief aside featuring some carefully placed jabs at the MTV generation (which is ironic seeing how 95% of the audience owes their knowledge of bands such as Motion City Soundtrack to MTV) the band performed their video to the song “A Million Ways” live. This included a beautifully choreographed dance that made The Nutcracker ballet look like a 5th grade rendition of A Christmas Story. These guys were on point. About 2 minutes into this theatrical marvel my mind was split between thoughts of impression and disturbing thoughts of these grown men rigorously practicing this dance in their own homes. Wow, of many years of shows seen, this was a definite first. (See the video of the dance yourself @ http://www.okgo.net)

Motion City Soundtrack, who embraced the stage with a sampling that sounded like older Refused, definitely did not disappoint. I first saw these guys years ago opening up for Ultimate Fakebook (RIP) at Fat Cat’s and they had me from the start. They were as crazy and entertaining then as they are now. I have never seen a guy so enthusiastic about keyboards before. A steady mix of songs from their debut, “I Am The Movie”, and their latest, “Commit This to Memory” were well received from the crowd. If you have never heard of this outfit, give them a listen, they seldom dissatisfy.

A small thought to ponder in closing… We know that the stars at night are big and bright, we don’t need every single band that comes through our country of a state to remind us. As if reminding us with clapping is any more exciting, it was enough after watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure twice.