Clad in a crimson White Stripes t-shirt complete with a soaring, peace offering, penguin, Matt Huston climbed upon the stage as the headlining act of the inaugural Rat show of the year, opening with the yet to be recorded pop-rock track “Keeping Quiet.”
Huston paused at the completion of his opening number to announce that the story alluded to by Colleen Napolitano, the opening act, was in fact true.
“Colleen is right,” said Huston. “We did make a pact to play new songs tonight. The only person who’s heard this one is my mom, her and my dog. It’s called ‘In Disguise’.”
It’s well-known that Huston is a Radiohead fan and “In Disguise” definitely takes a page out of Thom Yorke’s song book. When I close my eyes and listen to the video I am instantly transported to a dreary Oxfordshire, England flat in 1993, with a leaky rain cloud outside a tiny bedroom window, and a lonely musician sitting in the corner, his only friend, a Stratocaster, strapped to his shoulder, he strums and picks in search of unconventional chord progressions and bridges that work just right.
Huston walked off the stage to the loudest ovation of the evening, rivaled only by the applause bestowed upon White Star City, or, Colleen Napolitano.
I loved Napolitano’s set. There is a beautiful booming energy emitting from her music. Whether a folky original number or a cover, every song meant something to someone. And I’ve never heard another musician feel so intently and sing so intensely about their disdain for egg-salad.
Napolitano’s opening salvo, “Manifesto,” is a charismatic anthem about…well, she explains it better:
I mentioned the covers before and what a wide-array of music it was: Arcade Fire’s “Intervention,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” accompanied by Dylan Bargteil on guitar and vocals, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” “The Ballad of Love and Hate” from The Avett Brothers, and the greatest gift of her performance, a rocking sing along of Against Me’s “Walking Is Still Honest.” I can’t fathom how you knew that was my favorite Against Me! songs, Colleen, but I thank you all the same.
I’ll name Napolitano’s “RVB” as my favorite tune from her set and I’ll describe it like this: If Zoey Deschanel laid down vocals on Crime As Forgiven By Against Me! instead of Tom Gabel. You can here that track with few more by White Star City here: http://www.myspace.com/whitestarcity
I would like to throw a shout out to Mark Smith for opening this event. He will forever be known as The Rockstar Comic to me. If you haven’t caught his act DO IT!!! He has a very sinister, dark comedic view of Pokemon and Viagra, among other things.
This cover act’s catalog ranges from Lady Gaga to The Beatles…It was sort of weird and I’m pretty sure Paul McCartney would have a problem with it. But I don’t.
Starr, quite appropriately, saved the day on “I’m Looking Through You” when Pachter stumbled on the lyrics, showing off his vocal prowess that was cloaked by his counterpart throughout the performance.
The couple’s cover of “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” was probably my favorite, although Pachter did go at this soft spoken track a bit too strongly. Starr handled the backing vocals on this tune and from what I was able to hear of the effort, his pipe work would have sufficed as the lead.
Overall, this was not a bad performance.
- The Wind (Cat Stevens)
- Honey In The Sun (Camera Obscura)
- Speechless (Lad Gaga)
- I Will Follow You Into The Dark (Death Cab For Cutie)
- I’m Looking Through You (The Beatles)
- Last Person (Jenny Owen Youngs)