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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, January 31

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Review Sun Jan 16 2011

Review: The Concretes & Seapony @ Schubas, 1/15

tnkSponHeader.jpg The Concretes' latest album WYWH is a bit of a departure from the style that most people would associate them with. It's much more reliant on electronic beats than any of the organic indie-pop that they've released over the years. For that reason, their set list on Saturday sounded as if it had been picked from two entirely different bands. On one hand were non-WYWH songs where guitars led the way and on the other hand were WYWH jams that sounded as if their origin was based out of a drum machine. (This clearly was not a bother to the proud drunk who sauntered on stage uninvited and sloppily danced during one of WYWH's more upbeat songs, inciting her friends to scream approvingly.) Years ago there would've been no reason for two sets of keys/synths at a Concretes show. Now those instruments are used for nearly half of their songs.

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Concretes vocalist Lisa Milberg (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

Fans can split into two separate groups when a band A) loses the dynamic vocalist that led them to initial fame; B) alters their musical style: 1) carry on as if it's no big deal and be open to the change (AC/DC effect); 2) mope about it not even being the same band and deride new material (Genesis effect). While WYWH songs weren't heckled or anything, it seemed clear that most people at Schubas fit into the latter category and saved the biggest applause for old songs like "Say Something New" and "You Can't Hurry Love" (played with almost a garage-rock dirtiness) from their first album. Singer Lisa Milberg's voice may not carry the same weight as Victoria Bergsman's did, but she handles herself well and lets the music pick up slack. Covers of Robert Palmer's "Johnny & Mary" and the Rolling Stones' "Miss You" showed the band having a little fun with their new disco-influenced sound.

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Concretes bassist Martin Hansson (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

Seattle's Seapony opened with a set of jangly C86-inspired songs that could draw comparisons to the Pastels or the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. A few well-placed homage riffs (like one very similar to a popular surf-rock tune) kept them intriguing because it certainly wasn't their charisma that kept a crowd in the room. I've seen thousands of bands and would be hard-pressed to recall one more shy and uncomfortable than Seapony. During their 35-minute set I counted eight words spoken between songs ("we", "are", "seapony", "thanks", "have", "two", "more", "songs") and those seemed like a monumental task to say. For most of the set the band members stared at the floor or straight over the heads of the audience. However, I did really enjoy their music. It was poppy and all came from generally the same trick, but it's a good trick. (If this band's gimmick is that they all have some social anxiety disorder, I apologize in advance for making light of their disability.)

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Seapony vocalist/guitarist Jen Weidl (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

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

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