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Review by Steve Gisselbrecht
It's week two of the Scamper residency at the Abbey, and the theme of this week's lineup appears to be "basic." I arrive in time for the last three songs from Jason Liebman and the Uprising. He's talking as I come in, graciously thanking Scamper and the Abbey in a perfectly normal human male voice, so I'm rather taken aback when he starts singing and he has the helium thing going on. Not quite Coheed and Cambria-grade helium, but still way higher than his speaking voice. Once I get past that, it's good, basic rock music played quite solidly, with some funk in the bass line. Then, alas, the last song is a lugubrious ballad that drains away what energy they'd built up.
The Dents are up next, with energy to spare. In fact, the first half of their set is practically sloppy by Dents standards, which is to say not perfect. Maybe one note in a hundred or one beat in a thousand is off. Fortunately, they get themselves squared away by the second half of the set. Dents songs are simple little pop-punk nuggets, snarled in pretty harmonies, mostly on the theme "Fuck you." Jen--who never does patter--introduces one number by saying, "This song is about sex." That's it, and there's a breathless pause as we realize that that's all she has to say on the subject, until Michelle points out that that's probably the best thing they've ever said between songs ever, and they launch into "Not Through With You." Andrea Gillis steps down from the sound board to sing backup on one song.
Scamper begin their set with a new song in honor of the recently announced Rumble lineup, which continues to not include Scamper. I believe the entire lyrics may have been:
We're not good enough for the Rumble.
Then they play the real songs, and they're as freakishly pretty as ever. Much is made of the fact that Nate sings two in a row, and they're two of my favorites; Keith has the better voice of the two lead singers, but Nate seems to get the catchiest choruses to sing. "Longshot" is not only the occasion for the (in)famous Synchronized Jumps, but also the only Scamper song that's not in four. (No wonder it's a favorite of mine.) Midset, someone in the audience starts throwing a beachball around, which is oddly appropriate; there is sunshine in this music. They do a string of newer ones, and close with a cover of "Go Your Own Way" that Brendan sings lead on, with Jason Halogen leaping onstage to sing backup.
Batting cleanup tonight are The Brett Rosenberg Problem, with yet more good basic rock and roll played well. Tonight's set is distinguished by a bizarrely long and jamtastic version of "I Lied." It's really great, wandering around but maintaining a sufficient energy level that I don't find it annoyingly noodley, as I am prone to. Also impressive is Michelle Dent getting down, and laying down the law when the Problem try to stop; she declares that there will be two more songs, and no one in this room is fool enough to question her.
live show summary
Date: March 9, 2005 (Wednesday)