Last month I was lucky enough to catch Miniature Tigers when they made a stop at Sonar here in Baltimore. Lead singer/guitarist Charlie Brand, bassist Alex, guitarist, AJ, and drummer Rick were nice enough to take some time before the show to sit down and chat. Here’s our glorious conversation about Baltimore, Dreamland, ladybugs, Neon Indian, and, of course, Lost.
Wednesday night’s show of Miniature Tigers, The Spinto Band, INEVERYROOM, and the Ex-Replicas was the first show I’d been out to see in a good while…and it did not disappoint. I came in at the tail end of the Ex-Replicas set (I was interviewing Miniature Tigers – more on that soon) so I didn’t quite get into them. They were loud and played rock – simple as that. Up next was a band I was pretty psyched to see, INEVERYROOM. I’ve praised their Friends Record release on this blog before, and their live set lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Chase, Rob, and Amy pulsed their way through a tight set of their experimental electronic tribal thumps. A couple of things about their set: I really love the way Amy’s soft vocal harmonies counters Chase’s bonfire yips. For relatively a new band, their sound is remarkably tight and I was actually saddened that their performance had to end. Also Chase and Rob were kicking in socks – no shoes – for some reason that made me laugh. All in all I’m ready for the next INEVERYROOM show, release, whatever, gimme!
The Spinto Band followed. While I’m not too familiar with them, one thing is for sure – they like to have fun. They play pop rock with good energy and…kazoos. They also seemed to have hit it up with Miniature Tigers on this tour, because they were jeered constantly from some of the MT members in the crowd. Eventually they even invited them onstage to celebrate their last show on the tour with them.
Something odd was definitely in the air that night with Miniature Tigers. They came our rocking more than I ever remembered them rocking. Soon into their set lead singer Charlie Brand broke a string on his Dharma issued acoustic guitar and pleaded to the other musicians in the crowd for another. He was then handed a guitar of The Spinto Band – which also had a broken string. Oh well, Brand determined he didn’t really “need” to use that string on the ensuing song. After that they broke into a fantastic performance of “Gold Skull” in which Brand ditched the instruments and headed for the crowd. All the while their manager was scrounging around backstage looking for strings. Finally after bassist Alex took us all on a journey with his tales from conquering Zelda (backed by drummer Rick’s fabulous Zelda theme music) a guitar was presented to Charlie, and we were off to rocking once more. Thats about when my camera battery died so I have no proof of the following craziness that included a gigantic teddy bear, a 4 foot replica of a slim jim made with a rainstick, and of course The Noid. Most of this was courtesy of The Spinto Band when they joined Miniature Tigers on stage to help them play a few more songs to end the night including one chaotic cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Me and My Arrow”, and completely off the charts versions of “Cannibal Queen” and “Last Night’s Fake Blood”.
mp3: INEVERYROOM – EEM E GEE
mp3: Miniature Tigers – Cannibal Queen
Did you go? If so, what did you think?
Here’s a few pictures and a slideshow of the night:
Miniature Tigers do pop rock well. Extremely well. Their debut album Tell It To The Volcano had me singing along with the tracks almost instantly. Charlie Brand has that indescribable knack for creating verses, choruses, and melodies that stick to the happy part of my brain. After listening to this album waaaay too much and seeing them open for Ben Folds, I knew these folks were legit. So now what?
How about make an album that’s not quite as catchy, but much more interesting to the ears. That’s what Miniature Tigers have done with F O R T R E S S. They went the extra mile and fused their catchy-as-hell pop rock with the wondrous halls of Dreamland, a converted 19th century church in upstate New York. Then they enlisted Chris Chu, of The Morning Benders, to help make their sound epic for the big screen. Dash a little Neon Indian on a track (“Gold Skull”) and out comes F O R T R E S S, and album that has Miniature Tigers testing the limits of their sound and succeeding.
Miniature Tigers make CATCHY AS HELL POP SONGS. Seriously. Go pick up Tell It To The Volcano, their debut LP, and you will be singing along in no time. This July they’re set to release the follow up F O R T R E S S which was co-produced by the Morning Benders’ Chris Chu. Thinking of these two bands and their sound, this seems like a perfect match.
For Miniature Tigers’ first single, “Gold Skull”, they decided to experiment a bit and brought in the talents of Neon Indian aka Alan Palomo to produced the track. It definitely has Palomo’s psych-synth stroked all over…and it works fabulously. Check it:
mp3: Miniature Tigers – Gold Skull thanks to Stereogum
mp3: Miniature Tigers – Cannibal Queen from Tell It To The Volcano
F O R T R E S S comes out on July 27th. Pre-order it here.
Last Thursday I was one of the lucky fellows to get to see a show featuring one up and coming pop act, Miniature Tigers, and one very well established pop act, Ben Folds. Mr. Folds put on his usual excellent show of sing-alongs and piano smashing, but I was quite impressed for Miniature Tigers. A few months back I received their debut album, Tell It To The Volcano, in the mail and it completely took me over (check out our review). I was anxious to hear how it would translate live. Lead singer Charlie Brand was smooth and calm as the band took the stage to a packed house and went right to work opening with their single “Cannibal Queen”. They followed that with a lighter rendition of my favortie track off their album “Like or Like Like”. and followed that with an entertaining version of “Dino Damage”. The bad was light hearted and the diverse crowd warmed up to them as their set wore on. The highlight for me was the unveiling of a new high energy song, “Japanese Woman That Lives In My Closet”. Honestly I don’t know how Brand comes up with these songs but their friggin brilliant. The performance was sealed with greatness when they began to play “Tell It The Volcano” and asked if anyone watched the latest episode of Lost. Then Brand pointed out that their T-Shirts for sale featured the Dharma Initiative logo from that fantastic show. Wha? Simon (aka Evilhomer) immediately determined that they were the greatest band ever to make music. Maybe a little over the top, yes? But all’s the same, Miniature Tigers kicked some serious butt last Thursday in Baltimore. If you get a chance, pick up their album, or perhaps try to catch ‘em on this tour with Mr. Folds.
mp3: Miniature Tigers – Tell It To The Volcano
(sorry for the lack of photos – Rams Head Live isn’t a fan of cameras apparently)
Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’re looking for a perfect night out with your perfect mate than look no further that Baltimore’s Talking Head who has The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Should be magnificent. Other than that I’d suggest motoring up north to Philly where Miniature Tigers and Ben Folds will serenade you and your loved one at the Electric Factory. Or maybe you just want to get down. In that case head over to the Danger Danger Gallery to catch Woodhands. Go romance!
mp3: Woodhands – In The Woods
mp3: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Teenager In Love
If you are ready to sing along ’til your hearts content then head on down to Rams Head Live in Baltimore to catch Ben Folds and Miniature Tigers tonight. If you’re looking for a smaller event but still just as solid the Talking Head has one of our favorites Eureka Birds as well as Karmella’s Game, Dead Mechanical, and AV Club. Down in DC the Black Cat has a good one with (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope and Big Gold Belt. Philly ain’t too shabby either with the French Kicks, Ferraby Lionheart, and Gildon Works at Johnny Brenda’s and Airports., Snakes Say Hiss, Neighborhood Choir, and Anamanaguchi at the M Room. Also don’t forget that Swarthmore College has Titus Andronicus and Los Campesinos!