Sunday, January 25, 2009

Annuals w/ Jessica Lee Mayfield @ El Mocambo Jan.24.2009

So, we walk into El Mocambo and my buddy Mr. Grosman tells me that Jessica Lee Mayfield is "an introspective female singer-songwriter;" at which point I'm thinking that if I tell him I have to go to the bathroom I can slip out, catch the streetcar to the subway, and not see him until school on Monday. But, he buys the first round of beers, I stick around, and I'm glad I did.

We start the night sitting down - Grosman talking about how he's sure that Georgia is going to win the Miss America pageant - and both of us determined to just kind of chill out until Annuals come on. Not that either of us are really fired up to see the band (Annuals), but more that we figure of the two acts, Annuals, since they're the headliner, are the band we want to expend the energy to get up and see. Turns out, that wasn't the case...

After about a song and a half JLM seemed to really get comfortable on stage, started to showcase an outstanding set of pipes, some excellent (and often quite dark) songs, and some cool arrangements. It occured to me about halfway through her set she reminded me of a cross between Jenny Lewis and Chad VanGaalen (ie. the voice of Lewis and the song writing of VanGaalen). She was quite good I thought, and it turned out that the "introspective singer-songwriter" label wasn't far off, but thankfully that didn't mean she is likely to end up on a Lilith Fair compilation anytime soon. On the whole, great set, and I hope to get my sweaty little mitts on her album With Blasphemy So Heartfelt sometime soon... MG I'm looking at you.

Annuals on the other hand opened with a bang. Or, more accurately, with this Blueman Group kind of number - no stage lights, just about everyone in the band with a drum, and every time a drum was hit these LA Gear-esque lights would flash - it was very cool. From there, things were a little .... meh. It seemed like they were having a little trouble with the sound, but generally - bear in mind I had never heard any of their songs before - they were missing a little something. The instrumentation was great, they were really "tight" as they say, but I think both MG and I felt as though the lead vocals were, how-do-you-say, a touch emo. We also couldn't figure out why the girl (according to their wikipedia entry 'Anna Spence') didn't play a more promeninent role in the band... in the end we both got a little tired, left a little early, and had a pretty good time.

Jessica Lee Mayfield

(and yes, Rollie Fingers is her guitar player)


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