Saturday, February 12, 2011

CWMAs: Future of the Ghost, Birthquake, Night Sweats

Posted By on February 12, 2011, 3:10 PM

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When City Weekly chisels out the logistics for a CWMA showcase, we can only hope for an energetic crowd ready to dance and a slate of complementary bands as there were Friday night at the Urban Lounge.---

“Heartbeat” broke the ice. Four-piece The Future of the Ghost opened the evening of excellent local music and, by the third song, the crowd began melting towards the dance floor. Playing mid-’90s inspired indie rock, FOTG played eight tight songs, including new, more experimental, numbers off of their upcoming album, slated for March release. Their cannon, with two other records since forming in 2006, is one of functional pieces—all created with a craftsman’s eye for detail—that meld together nicely when performed live. As frontman Will Sartain sang “Love is a Matador” the lights began to flash in sync with the beat, adding to the infectious charisma and enthusiasm the band exuded on stage. This was their night. It’s too early to tell if they received the most votes, but for them—stalwarts of Salt Lake City’s music scene—they were on fire. Ending with the 2006 classic “Freak Out,” FOTG set a high benchmark met by the following bands.

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What’s not to love about the Whittaker brothers? Their sheer joy for playing loud and furiously and for getting butts dancing makes Birthquake a band to be reckoned with. Sure, their jammy-rock and tropicali-jazz cuts come across clean and enjoyable on disc (which they gave away free last night—a pattern at this year’s CWMA showcases), but the immediacy of the moment paired with ridiculous banter makes them assuredly entertaining in concert. On each of about seven songs, full of scale-shredding mayhem, the brothers—joined intermittently by a keyboardist/ triangle player—sang one lyric: “I love you brother,” on the second song. Brotherly love and the enigmatic connection sharing a womb creates made for a bona fide set. On each song, they would soar to the point of climax and just when you’d want them to stay there, to relish in the peak, the song would end, leaving the audience wistful for another, then another, for more dancing until the set, like each song, ended too soon.

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Other than knowing Night Sweats is chock-full of local talent—a hodgepodge of the city’s best musicians—hearing the buzz about their live sets and now owning a neon green sliver of a set list from last night’s show, the band is a nearly a mystery to me. As a full disclosure (and a testament to the band’s way of winning over an audience), this reviewer took zero notes from their performance, instead danced his ass off. For those that stuck around late into the evening, the synthy dance grooves, likened to Joy Division and Interpol, made for a sweaty, gyrating good time. The neon green set list says they played six songs called (most likely in shorthand) “Keys,” “Body,” “Chris” and “New,” among others. With a void in the local dance rock scene left by Laserfang’s recent disbanding, we can only hope that Night Sweats will come big with the beats and give audiences more of that sweet music they played last night.

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