Monday, July 18, 2011

The Ladybug Transistor brings laid back pop to Kings

All photos by Kevin Norris
Brooklyn quintet The Ladybug Transistor made a stop in Raleigh Saturday evening for a show a Kings supporting their new album Clutching Stems.

The band sounded great as they rolled through a set heavy on songs from the new album, starting out with the soaring "Caught Don't Walk." The band's lush pop filled the room, captivating the small, but attentive crowd.

After playing the groovy "Breaking Up on the Beat," they flashed back 14 years, taking a request for the the classic "Rushes of Pure Spring" from their 1997 album Beverley Antonale.

Frontman Gary Olson's baritone voice sounds as smooth as the breezy pop he writes, and is quite an impressive performer, jumping between vocals and trumpet quite quickly on a few songs. The rest of the band was tight and polished, sounding even better than the last time they were in the Triangle, playing the XX Merge Festival in 2009.

The set closed with the closing song from Clutching Stems, "Life Less True." The band only left the stage briefly before being cheered back to the stage for an encore. They started with "Oceans in the Hall" before closing with a fan request, the classic "Always on the Telephone."

The evening started in rather unconventional way, as Derrek Torres of T0W3ERS made his way from the back of the room with an acoustic guitar, accompanied by a girl playing a tom drum. The pair played two songs in the dark near the bar before Torres finished his set on stage by himself.

He normally has a band when he plays as T0W3ERS, but they were all of town or otherwise unavailable. The songs show a lot of promise, but it would be great to hear the full band version. He'll release an EP later this year on the label DiggUp Tapes.

Second on the bill was singer-songwriter James Husband, whose real name is James Huggins. Many would know him as the talented multi-instrumentalist who played with of Montreal for many years. He debuted his new band at the Kings show, which featured three members including fellow of Montrealer Dottie Alexander on keys and clarinet.

The songs were quite nice little folk-tinged pop tunes, though the band could've used a few more rehearsals. It seemed at times  that the drummer in particular was having a hard time following along.

One of the tightest songs of the set was a fantastic cover of the Chris Knox song "Half Man Half Mole," dedicated to the songwriter of suffered a stroke in 2009.

The Ladybug Transistor setlist
Caught Don't Walk
Fallen and Falling
Clutching Stems
Three Days From Now
Today Knows
Breaking Up on the Beat
Rushes of Pure Spring
Light on the Narrow Gauge
Oh Cristina
Here Comes the Rain
Life Less True
Oceans in the Hall
Always on the Telephone

The Ladybug Transistor

James Husband


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