Straylight Run, Lovedrug, & Good Old War at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 5/14/09.
It's been a long time since I've been to R&R, but it's still a great small venue. I was very excited to see this lineup in such a small space - they are all perfectly suited for it.
I had never listened to Good Old War before this show, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Their songs were folksy and upbeat, and their singer pranced around the entire set, obviously enjoying his job. Usually if a band I've never heard is opening a show, I can't wait for them to finish. With Good Old War, I wouldn't have minded if they kept playing. I'll definitely be keeping my eye on them.
Lovedrug was up second. They are one of my favorite bands, and this was my first time seeing them. They sounded off, mostly due to the fact that the bass was extremely loud to the point of drowning out the vocals. Apart from that, the band was on point. I was pleased to see that Shepard's voice sounds the same live as it does recorded, even the impossible falsetto notes he hits. They played a fairly even mix of songs from Everything Starts Where It Ends and The Sucker Punch Show, with the nice surprise of "Spiders" also thrown in.
The venue was still half to three-quarters empty when Straylight Run went on, something that was surprising to me. Maybe I overestimate their popularity, but I expected a bigger crowd. This is the second time I've seen the band since Michelle Nolan left, and they are managing it better than the last time. They did have issues with their recorded loops, but the rest of the music sounded great. I always like them better live than I do recorded. I think their songs sound fuller and more intense live. John Nolan's vocals sounded perfect, and they all appeared to be having a good time, as did the audience, who clearly love this band a lot. Unfortunately, I had to leave early in time to catch the Metro home, but Straylight Run are always wonderful to see.