Here is a typical exchange that i had several
times over the course of the week preceeding this show.
Someone else: "So, PostLibyan -- doing anything this weekend."
Me: "well, i am going to see Sparklehorse on Friday."
Someone Else: "'Sparklehorse'? What the heck is that?"
Me: "Sparklehorse is a sort of dreampop band. Good stuff
-- i have a few of their albums..."
At which point Someone Else gives me the "not interested" head
shake while backing away.... (I seem to get that response a
lot. Hmmm.) Anyway, i swear i had this discussion with dozens
of people. No one except me, it seems, has heard of Sparklehorse.
Even non-Minion affiliate Kerry (who was voted "the person most
likely to know what the heck PostLibyan is going on about" by
Malimus) had not heard of them.
So imagine my surprise when i pull up to The Echo at 11 PM
on Friday night, and the place is packed. Parking is at a premium
(i was almost a whole block away! a whole block!), and there
were people loitering outside. Inside it was a sea of people.
And it was a diverse crowd too, includion the regular tatooed
East Atlantans, the uncombed and sweatered masses of the Indie
Rock Mafia, the wide-eyed clean-faced look of the College Kids,
and the Old Scenesters (like me) huddled over their beers. I
was amazed that such a wide range of people had heard of Sparklehorse.
Wierd. I really wasn't expecting a crowd.
At any rate, i just had time to walk in and grab a beer before
openers The Roy Owens Jr. started. This is my second encounter
with this act, and they have expanded their lineup since last
time. They are now a four-piece of drums, guitar, bass, and
Mr. Owens Jr. himself on guitar and vocals.
The Roy Owens Jr. have a non-adjectivized rock sound. That
is, they aren't Punk rock, or Indie Rock, or Hard Rock, on Country
Rock, or Electro Rock. They are a rock band: four/four time,
chords, solos, and vocals that try to make you smile while they
point out the ridiculousness of life. At least, that's how it
seemed to me. In all honesty these guys remind me of The
John Doe Thing, or perhaps Athenians Dodd
Ferrelle and The Tinfoil Stars with a little more rock and
a little less twang.
They put on a good set, better than i remembered from last
time. I stood there thinking, "Brillo would like this." Personally,
i found them pretty good for an opening act. They were energetic
and they got the crowd moving, and that was their job this evening.
Good for them.
After The Roy Owens Jr. took down their gear, Sparklehorse
set up. I am not sure how many people are normally in this band,
but tonight they were mostly a duo. There was a drummer, a vocalist/guitarist
(lead Sparklehorser Mark Linkous), and occasionally they were
joined by a guy crouching behind some sequencers and synthesizers.
It was unclear whether he was in the band or simply helping
At any rate, Sparklehorse played delicate slow pop music that
was not quite sparse-enough to be considered slowcore, but was
damned close. Well, there were occasional rocking tunes... Linkous'
voice was mostly a hushed whisper that blended in with the chatter
of the bar and the clink of glasses. His guitar was a delicate
trill layered behind his voice, and the drums were a brushed
rhythmic accompaniment. Occasionally the drummer would play
keys, which directly competed with Linkous' voice for your attention.
And thus the show went. It was rather enjoyable, if i do say
so myself, and less than a fourth of the crowd left due to the
slow, quiet, sleepy mood. Well done. If you are into that sort
of thing, then definitely check out Sparklehorse.