Evangelicals/Serena-Maneesh @ Bowery Ballroom 9/8/06

There’s a middle aged dude who works security at Bowery Ballroom; he usually sits on a stool at the stage-access door near the front of the room, and he uses the density of his torso (and of his scraggle of hair) to ensure that no party crashers make their way backstage. We should know this man’s name, as we often engage in conversation (here, “conversation” includes discussions on placement of beer cups and use of camera flash). The guy sees a lot of shows but, despite his apparent love for live music and those drawn to see it, we’ve never seen him cut loose like he did for the Oklahoma trio Evangelicals.

By now you know we love Serena-Maneesh, so we hit Bowery on Friday night in fanboy-mode to catch up with ‘em, take in their headlining set, and snap some backstage pics. We didn’t expect to pay attention to the early opener, but our friendly, Bowery security man’s unexpected enthusiasm was a lure. The next draw was the goofy interplay (and botanical garden!) that had taken over the stage. When our ears finally opened, we even enjoyed what we heard.

Evangelicals’ brand of unhinged psych-pop lives somewhere between state-mates Flaming Lips and Broken Social Scene, with shifting tempos, soaring background vocals, and a demented, sunny disposition. You’ll also hear some fleeting surf-rock basslines from the ’50s, a period that seems to have shaped moments of their trebly, bright guitars, served up with a dollop of reverb for taste.

Evangelicals – “Another Day (And You’re Still Knocked Out)” (MP3)
Evangelicals – “Diving” (MP3)

After the jump, a look at the headlining, Norwegian rockers in their natural, backstage habitat.

We’ve never felt more ordinary in our lives.