Tuesday, June 1, 2010

100 Shows of 2010 - #26: Valentiger @ The Red & The Black, 5/20/10

What does Michigan mean to you, friends? Perhaps you think of it as homeland to such important bands as the MC5 and The Stooges. Perhaps you think of it more for it’s Upper and Lowerness. Or perhaps you’re all about the Lions or Tigers or Red Wings. I tell you what, though. After seeing Valentiger at The Red & The Black, I’ve got another pretty fine band to attribute to the great state of Michigan (and it’s not just because they totally bowled me over with their cover choices).

MINI RECAP: Valentiger = Nice Guys Finishing First! Overall score: A.

So there I am, clutching a vodka cranberry in one hand and a Founder’s Dirty Bastard in the other (yes, dears, yours truly double fists every now and again). Founder’s is a perfect beverage to swill whilst seeing a Michiganian band, you see, because it also hails from Michigan. I was verily impressed with both the beer and the band (though obviously moreso by the band). I was hooked one song in, their sweetly adorable, rustic sound reeling me in. And bands, never underestimate the importance of entertaining banter. Guitarist/vocalist Eric Kehoe related a rather amusing tale about his visit earlier in the day to a barber shop on U St. where his beard was attended to, and received many a chuckle for his trouble.

Most of the set was pulled from the fantastic record Power Lines to Electric Times, including the perfect, twangy pop of “Bosses In Their Offices” and “The Girl That Everyone Forgot”. Not only was their own material played beautifully, but then they went and played a pair of covers that totally and utterly won my love and affection: “In The City” (The Jam) and “Picture Book” (The Kinks). Any band that’ll tackle two seminal British bands in one set is automatically awesome in my book. And they covered the songs in such a lighthearted, energetic way, as well, with just enough reverence. Bellissimo! “Thanks for being a nice audience,” they proclaimed, before commenting about the difference between a DC audience and a Boston audience (which wasn’t exactly complimentary), and launching into a most excellent rendition of the lively, bouncy “Leaving Town”. Come to think of it, we as an audience probably shoulda thanked them for being a nice band.

The bottom line here, my friends, is that Valentiger is a great, great little band. They’re not only good musicians but good people to boot. Brent, Eric, and Scott have decamped back to Michigan to work on more fantastic music, but next time they’re out and about on the road I highly, highly, highly recommend you check ‘em out. Their music is earnest, honest, and pretty much salt of the earth. It’s real, and it’s really lovely. I do believe I’ve found me another pet band.

mp3: Leaving Town (Valentiger from Power Lines to Electric Times)

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