If there weren't so many maracas on stage, I would have been extremely nervous about all the machines used in the Suckers' show Tuesday night.
Thankfully, the Brooklyn-based dance-rock quartet uses its technology for good, not evil, adding a slew of sampled bells, whistles and other effects to a rhythmically diverse attack that also includes the aforementioned maracas, a trumpet and all manner of percussion instruments to their guitars, bass and drums. While I tend to like my music as organic as possible, Suckers' use of technology enhances the band's ability to create a mighty ruckus with just four guys on stage. I can live with that.
It helps that those four guys are so willing to push themselves on their new Wild Smile album into style rarely heard in the indie-rock universe. Yes, the use of African and South American percussion and rhythms has become common among their dance-rock peers, but few of those bands play with vocal harmonies like Suckers do, or incorporate four distinct levels of whistling into a tune. I mean, seriously, a whistling solo? And one that works?
So it was at Kilby Court on opener "Roman Candles," an insistent tune that mixes that whistling with some power chords and lyrics about "roman candles and empty liquor handles." The band's playful harmony vocals give the songs a child-like appeal, as does the enthusiasm the members show delivering their tunes. Even with a small crowd, Suckers were clearly having fun on stage, and the dancing crowd responded in kind.
Lead vocals were shared by multi-instrumentalists Quinn Walker (pictured above) and Austin Fisher, and Fisher's deadpan bass was an ideal foil for Walker's stratospheric falsetto, giving the songs like "You Can Keep Me Runnin' Around" and "Before Your Birthday Ends" some dynamic range they would otherwise lack.
I went into the Suckers show worried their songs might noodle their way into Phish territory. Happily, that wasn't the case. Here's hoping a few more folks show up to discover the same next time Suckers roll into Utah.