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Thursday, December 14

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Concert Fri May 14 2010

Photos/Review: Clem Snide @ Lincoln Hall 5/13/10

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In some ways, one might think of alt country band Clem Snide as a bit of an acquired taste. Lead singer Eef Barzelay has the kind of voice that is subtly emotional and slightly reminiscent of a less raspy Mark Everett of Eels fame. Most of the time, the songs aren't nearly as profoundly sad as Eels. Yet, there's a sense of longing and familiarity that gets you through the night, a sort of comforting sound even at it's most passionate.

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The night started sentimental and slow with Barzelay gracing the stage all by his lonesome with an acoustic guitar to render his song, "Denver." Right from the beginning, his devoted fans knew and sang all the words under their breath then louder as the full band joined him on stage. Clem Snide played as a four piece live given the substantial inclusion of the lead singer Chris Otepka of opening band The Heligoats as a second guitarist.

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Of course, part of this love fans have grown accustomed to might be a clear result of the fact that Clem Snide has been around for over a decade, releasing over ten full lengths. Their most recent, 2010's The Meat of Life is not lacking in gems by a long shot but the band chose to reward long time listeners with many songs Barzelay termed "vintage."


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It wasn't until the third song of their seventy-five minute long set that Clem Snide really started going with their song "Walmart Parking Lot." Soon thereafter, Barzelay was proclaiming about the evil in the world in his song "Fight Song Melody" with his voice climbing to a startling falsetto at the end. When he wasn't convincing the audience about evil, he was adeptly reassuring us with his most heavily country rock influenced song of the evening, "Don't Be Afraid of Your Anger." By this point, Barzelay was in full form with rock moves and getting down on his knees.

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Another clear highlight of their set was "Nick Drake Tape" and a song that went all the way back to their 2002 EP, "Moment in the Sun" as the strongest song of their encore. One of the only disappointments of the night is that the band left out one of their best new songs, "I Got High" which takes place in Normal, Illinois. Instead, we were rewarded with their cover of Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise" which was both oddly sensitive and subtly hilarious. Still, if you're convinced of the evil in the world, perhaps Clem Snide can atleast make it a better place to live in.

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Our Final Transmission Days

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Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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