Friday, March 02, 2007

Satuuurday Looks Good To Me, Starling Electric and Chris Bathgate at The Blind Pig, 2/23/06

Annie and I are trying to keep show review posts on a “professional” deadline schedule, and I’m already failing miserably.

So yes, this show did happen a week ago. But would I feel comfortable not posting about it because it happened a week ago? Absolutely not. It may have been no KFest, but it was gushworthy.

Our favorite singer-songwriter set the stage for the evening, leading off with a couple of old favorites enhanced by some auxiliary sound care of a looping pedal — no KT Tunstall-style “make a drum beat by looped smacks to the body of the guitar,” thank God — striking the perfect balance of intimate solo Bathgate and big noisy backing band Bathgate. At this point, there’s no trick he he can’t pull out of those rolled-up sleeves; if he showed up at a show in a one-man band outfit a la Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, it would sound more soulful than anything any chimbley sweep ever choked up.

There were new songs on display too, from the record Chris committed to tape the day after Great Lakes Myth Society wrapped-up Compass Rose Bouquet.

Add Starling Electric to your list of “must see every time they play” bands. Glammed-out baroque and psych stomp of the highest order, and so damn catchy — in the time it’s taken me to write this review, the chorus to “I Was Guilty of Black Collar Crime” still has not dislodged itself from my frontal lobe.

And tremendous showmen, those Starlings. With foliage covered stage — and frontman Caleb Dillon — plus cheeky dialogue, the set provided a trip to the 1960s I’ve always hoped existed.

Who could follow Starling Electric? Who? Perhaps a Saturday Looks Good To Me riding a homecoming high? YES!

Well, homecoming is a relative term. As Fred Thomas said near the end of the set, “We’re Saturday Looks Good To Me, from Ann Arbor, Michigan” — at which point he indicated the band (which boasted Canada’s Ryan Howard on drums and Chris Bathgate on bass and guitar) before sheepishly pointing to himself — “and Portland, Oregon.”

There was plenty and shimmy and shake to be had, much of which coming care of a cameo by Miss Betty Marie Barnes. It was just great to see the Pig jam packed, everybody dancing and smiling and all around happy to be Fred’s “sweet, sweet children” for one night.

Saturday Looks Good To Me
Web site

Upcoming Michigan Shows
March 24 — The Magic Stick with The Paybacks

Starling Electric
Web site

Chris Bathgate


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