Friday, May 8, 2015

Don Caballero, The Constantines, and Dakota/Dakota -- Rocket Bar, March 13, 2004

This night is what I consider a “stacked” lineup—stacked enough for advance ticketing, which is a rarity at the Rocket Bar. For this night was an evening on which skipping the opening acts was not an option. Three bands, all three of them rolling in from out of town and all of them ranging from great to flat-out amazing.

Let me be blunt: Chicago’s Dakota/Dakota are amazing. Taking cues from fellow instrumental outfits Pelé and Dianogah, Dakota/Dakota create sounds that are mellow and beautiful in one breath and straight-up rocking the next. The interplay between guitarist Mike Sullivan and bassist Colin Dekuiper, combined with rhythmic beatings of Jim Myers, was nearly perfect. Watching Dekuiper’s typewriter-like taps halfway up the neck of his bass was damn near jaw-dropping. Like a new discovery, the ever-building crowd expressed its appreciation louder and louder ’til the end of the set. It was obvious that Dakota/Dakota made one hell of an impression on those lucky enough to show up early.

Up next came Toronto’s The Constantines. By this time the room had pretty much filled up and the front of the stage was packed. In support of their stellar Sub Pop release Shine a Light, the Cons were equally impressive. Described in many circles as Fugazi meets Springsteen, vocalist Bry Webb sounds like he’s spent 30 years washing his mouth out with Old Crow and smoking two packs a day. His vocals have that sleepy, raspy, imperfect quality that reminds me slightly of Cursive’s Tim Kasher. This, of course, gives the Con’s tunes a boatload of sincerity and soul. The crowd on hand was clearly enjoying the Constantine’s set. At one point, drummer Doug MacGregor even distributed the band’s tambourines for some full-fledged audience participation. The highlight of their set came near the end of “Shine a Light,” when the band held a pulsating note for at least 30 seconds while each member held his hands in the air much like a congregation praying for a miracle. Solid, solid set.

Up next was Don Cab, nearly four years removed from their breakup and last record, American Don. First off, they played perhaps the longest set I have every heard at the Rocket Bar. For at least 75 minutes Don Cab played through their back-catalog. They were solid and rocking. Unfortunately, drummer Damon Che chattered irrelevantly between every song, which quickly became beyond annoying and started to detract from the band’s performance. Whether out of fatigue or having their fill of Don Cab, the crowd had diminished substantially by the end of the set. Sometimes you can get too much of a good thing, and when a band doesn’t quite measure up to the acts that preceded them, you have a recipe for heading for the doors early.

No comments:

Post a Comment