The Knitting Factory, New York City, NY • October 20, 2000
Thanks to a late-announced P.J. Harvey show on the same stage that was supposed to host the Kindercore showcase, the Knitting Factory became a bumbling mass of confusion that ended up pushing the showcase back a few hours. Therefore, while headliner Of Montreal was supposed to see the crowd at 1:30 AM, they were suddenly slated to go on just before daybreak. Such a state of affairs would have been quite disheartening to the lover of good music and good sleep at a decent hour, but a lesser-known hero of Kindercore came and took back the night. That hero was Great Lakes.
This band is pure goodness, emitting merriment like someone opened up an industrial-sized can of carbonated happiness and shook before opening. Great Lakes started their set with a moment of sweetheart rock n’ roll, as their mostly-drummer [^] mostly, since every member switched instruments at least two or three times during the show [^] called his girlfriend in Chicago and put the cell phone up to the microphone so she could say hi. Her voice unfortunately didn’t come through the speakers, but alas, it was the thought that counted. Then, the mostly-drummer took his seat, and the band just started trucking along with keyboards, flutes, guitars, trumpets, and a warm fuzzy feeling in each song. Sometimes, there were so many instruments going on [^] a few members were playing more than one per song [^] that the music just became one delightful, garbled mess. But it mattered not, because the intention was clear even if individual notes weren’t.
The band consists of young and old, teens and thirty-somethings (or, so they seemed), and they all bopped around like indie-pop Gummi Bears while playing their upbeat, catchy pop that they fill with musical breaks and head-nodding grooves. There was so much coming through the speakers that there was no way to comprehend what they [^] “they” being a few members, since they all attempted the mic at some point [^] were singing about, but it didn’t matter. At almost 2 AM, Great Lakes were the best thing going. They were fun, spirited, all smiling buddies taking turns at instruments like a utopian Kindergarten class, and it no longer mattered if I had to miss Of Montreal. Great Lakes were great enough for a whole evening.