Last Monday night’s Rubdown was just amazing. So pleasurable, in fact, that plans were cancelled, lives rearranged and admission secured for Wednesday night’s repeat. Two nights and four sets of Spencer Krug later, we’re left with the unalienable truth that not all songwriters are created equal. Krug’s a modern master. If he’s in a project, we’re all ears.

Night one kicked off with a solo Spencer on “I’ll Believe In Anything.” The Sunset/Wolf Parade gem had the Mercury kids yelling “Jesus!” mid-verse. Shit was sick. Sunset Rubdown’s material is sweeping and challenging, with prog-ish passages and bizarre melodic sense. But Krug delivers this stuff with such unique vocal style and presence that Sunset goes down easy as pop. No one’s writing like this.

Both nights had amazing renditions of “Stadiums and Shrines,” “I’m Sorry I Sang On Your Hands.” and Spencer on accordion for “They Took A Vote And Said No.” What both nights didn’t have was a tasty Prince cover. That was for night two: when about the time the Purple One was on Fox selling his soul to the Idol faithful, Rubdown was moving through an e-bowed out “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Wednesday also had the choice “The Men Are Called Horsemen There,” though at seven minutes you could see Spencer’s food poisoning catching up to him.

Still, Krug stuck it out for the late set, providing his masterful keys to Carey Mercer and Frog Eyes. We were in the minority when it came to this band. That is, among the handful that actually stayed for the sets, and the fewer still who thought Monday was great. With night two, however, Mercer’s mesmerizing vocal freak-outs seemed to be a consensus pick. It’s easy to point to the Krug factor, but that’s just the start of it. Buoyant bass-drum pulses underscore these twisted romps, and through spittle sprays, stage-staggering and mic assaults, you can’t tear away from Carey. The music sure as shit ain’t for everyone. But for those it hits, it’s a ton of bricks.

Monday was also a shot to check in with the blogosphere’s crown prince, Beirut. The kid’s making the right moves, with new ukeleles (that stayed in tune!) and a new violinist. Again, some arrangements fell limp, but the set was much more consistent, and Zach was having himself some fun. What’s next for the Condon crew? A show with a brass section! Now if he can just get a small chorus to pull off all those vocal harmonies, we’ll be in business.

Some Sunset pics:

Comments (13)
  1. smileysam  |   Posted on May 30th, 2006 0

    could they sound more like arcade fire et al??

    man, new indie bands are just like rappers. or ska bands.

  2. smileysam  |   Posted on May 30th, 2006 0

    man, could they sound more like arcade fire et al??

    man, new indie bands are just like rappers. or ska bands.


  3. smileysam  |   Posted on May 30th, 2006 0

    could they sound more like arcade fire et al??

    man, new indie bands are just like rappers. or ska bands.


  4. foster  |   Posted on May 30th, 2006 0

    they sound too much like wolf parade.

  5. jojoba  |   Posted on May 30th, 2006 0

    smileysam I know what you’re saying it’s like…

    Could the Rolling Stone’s sound anymore like Muddy Waters?

  6. I know what you’re both saying, it’s like:

    Could the newest Ashlee Simpson sound anymore like Bach who, for my money, couldn’t sound anymore like the first Neanderthals that banged bones on rocks who, for your money, couldn’t sound anymore like the inaugural yelps of the first vocal land dweller who evolved from this planet’s primordial stew. Am I right? I mean, am I right?

    Dinosaurs and Ethics –

  7. rubdownrocks  |   Posted on May 30th, 2006 0

    Sunset Rubdown is amazing. Krug is a genius.

    All haters should get the entire album before judging…or just fuck off

  8. homer  |   Posted on May 30th, 2006 0

    That’s, at the very least, the best band name I’ve heard in the last five years.

  9. i dig beirut. northsix show should be awesome. new songs are in the works for it, or so i hear.

  10. wonker  |   Posted on Jun 1st, 2006 0

    the funny thing is that frog eyes is the band that originated this whole “canadian sound” that wolf parade and sunset rubdown are ripping off, and now they are the least popular of the three bands. the watered-down version of the real thing always seems to be more popular…..disappointed in stereogum for only focusing your photos and mp3s on the lesser of the two bands

  11. great review, amrit. worth the wait! about the whole frog eyes thing, now i wish i’d stayed for them. however, from what i’d heard off the few mp3s i had, i just wasn’t interested. could be a case of seeing the band live being the best way to hear the tunes. in any case, sunset rubdown is the best thing to come along in a long, long time.

  12. I can’t believe people are foolish enough to call Spencer Krug derivitive. if they listened to the entire Sunset Rubdown are saw him live they’d know obviously that he might be the most original talent in music today. How can a song like “I’m Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings,” be anything but incredibly brilliant and original. Nice post. I’m still mad I missed Sunset Rubdown in LA. They played the day after Coachella and I just couldn’t motivate. My loss.

  13. colby  |   Posted on May 14th, 2007 0

    I think that this is funny. I don’t get why everybody freaks out about who sounds like who and all of that stuff, I really don’t care.
    But what’s even funnier is that people come on here and compare sunset rubdown to Wold Parade and Frog Eyes sounding exactly like this band when Spencer Krug is the frontman in Wolf Parade and the keyboard player in Frog Eyes. Spencer Krug was one of the founders of Swan Lake, Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown, and Wold Parade. He’s in all of the “In” indie bands right now. And Another thing is no matter how popular all of you think that this music is, it isn’t. Nobody has ever heard of Sunset Rubdown. Where I live nobody has ever heard of Wolf Parade, or even The Arcade Fire. I think that we should all shut up and stop fretting about if they’re popular or not and enjoy their music. None of these guys write songs so that they can sound like those other guys.

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