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Erin Barnes Headshot

Show Reviews: Why?, Au, and Dark Dark Dark at the Bluebird

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Fact: All-ages shows are the best because the drunk youth are what rock and roll is all about, down to their passionate screamy annoying little hearts. I hadn't realized what flailing, dancing, yelling, impassioned fandom I've been missing out on at these stuffy 21+ shows until I saw it in the flesh at the Bluebird Friday night.

I mean, this is what they saved up their allowance for the last two weeks for. This was what Johnny stole Jagermeister from his mom's liquor cabinet for, this night. They're going to live it up.

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Photos pilfered from Kegan Warner's iPhone. Yup, we've pretty much given up on quality.

Dark Dark Dark

The clash between the teen audience and the sophisticated accordion-pop of Dark Dark Dark was hilariously jarring at first. A blond Chad was cheering in slurred streams of awed, very specific praise: "WOW! You're playing the accordion! This is really cool! I mean, you're playing the accordion!"

Perhaps it's the accordion, but when I first heard Dark Dark Dark I felt like it should be piping through Metros of Paris, sad songs wafting sadly from a band of waif-like ragamuffins. The minor Eastern European chords seem less crazed Gogol Bordello, more romantically Amelie-esque, dark and beautiful and quirky. Nona Marie Invie is the perfect chanteuse for such a band, with haunting vocals that dip around their dark subject matter in the light manner of an old doe-eyed singer from the past. I would love to listen to it on crackling vinyl. Marshall LaCount's banjo makes it feel even more peasant-like, which is a good thing -- the last thing we'd need in this scenario is smooth and polished. God forbid. This is sad gypsy music.

Their story is romantic beyond words: Nona was hopping trains across the United States and Europe when they first met, and LaCount had run away from home to ride rafts down the Mississippi and sing songs. Are you kidding? This is straight from a novel. And from the fog of travel emerged a strung-together band.

Oh yeah, and at the show Friday night, Mr. Marshall LaCount was delightfully sporting a tighty-white pair of American Apparel shorts, with what looked like women's lacy black underthings peeking out from underneath. At one point Ms. Invie even told him to "shake it" for the crowd, which he did as charmingly and embarrassedly as can be expected from a hot nerd.

Au

Holy shit, I have no idea how all of those ringing spectacular sounds were coming out of two human beings. They started off the set with an amazing sort of grand finale, the perfect kind of backwards virtuosity I can get behind. Two dudes, some drums, a keyboard and some curious sort of pipe organ was all they had, and they effortlessly and vigorously made strange, gigantic sounds come out of them. The drumming was, at times, jaw-dropping. They reminded me of Animal Collective, and strangely enough I could see your typical trip-hop head -- your white couch-sitting Bacardi-drinking product-hairstyled Lodo dude -- enjoying Au for the mood that they create, but they're clearly too good for those fans.

Why?

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Then Why? came onto the scene to the erupting and noisy beatification of the teen masses. News flash: Patrick Kelly isn't the only diehard obsessed fan of Yoni Wolf. Adorable super nerd? Check. Delightfully eclectic Jewish rap? Check. Honest and self-deprecating and life-pondering lyrics? Check. All set atop music that the indie rockers love love love.

They played a good mix of the older hip-hop stuff and the newer self-conscious indie stuff, which I heart, and everyone seemed pretty goddamn pleased.

"I heard this crowd was full of crazy psycho-freak killers!" Yoni yelled at us, skittering across the stage. Everyone went nuts. I'm psycho too! Me too! Fuck yeah! I just drank Jager I brought in a flask, said the teen masses. I spent the rest of the night dancing like a teen psychopath with J-Dubs and Kegan and Father Guido.