Orlando, Fl • January 25, 2007
With The Rapture playing just four blocks away and competing for much of the same audience, The Dears still managed to pack in a large crowd of indie rock fans with good taste. Touring behind one of the strongest releases of last year, Gang of Losers, the Canadian outfit brought with them North Carolina’s indie pop risk takers, Annuals. What transpired inside The Social, this night, was one nea-perfect intimate display of a band about to get a hell of a lot bigger.
The Annuals stage set-up consisted of a pair of drums, a pair of keyboards and a patchwork quilt. Before seeing any of the bandmembers, my initial reaction to this visual was, “Oh god, it’s a hippie band.” I figured I’d get a few photos and then hang back with a beer to try to fight off the inevitable boredom a jam would incite.
Far from my suspicions, the young co-ed group was a collage of sounds and noise whose only tie to jam rock was the heavy focus on percussion. Vocalist Adam Baker’s primal Bjork-ian howls were bold statements over top of an already bold guitar and dual drum attack. Their layered grooves and sharp-hitting attacks share the same wide, weird world as The Flaming Lips. I would definitely go out of my way to see this band again!
The Dears sound great on record, but live they are amazing. Murray Lightburn’s voice has got soul from decades past and that alone should (and did) captivate even the most jaded concert goer; but what really puts this band in the gold is the manic energy of guitarist Patrick Krief and drummer George Donoso III. Deeply in tune with the music and with one another, it is this dynamic pair who give Lightburn’s lyrics depth and excitement. Without their explosiveness the tunes would turn soft and become something different, more singer/songwriter-like. It’s the bursts of beats and distortion that keep me hanging at the lip of the stage, hypnotized by the aura this band exudes.
The hourlong set hightlighted much of GOL including one of the most perfect pop songs to come along in years, “There Goes My Outfit.” Had that song been omitted, I may have personally started a riot. But it was not, and I did not. Near the end of the set those familiar pretty guitars and Morrissey-esque voice kicked in and swallowed up the air within the downtown venue, and all was well with the world. The band ended the night with the crowd-insisted encore of “I Fell Deep.”