Saddle Creek | Rilo Kiley | Reviews


The Execution of All Things

Author: Erin Fitzgerald
03/02/2003 | | | Live Show Preview
Sitting in my teeny dorm room, I realize it is the size of the stage at The Knitting Factory. My bed would be the drum set, and my roommate's bed would be the keyboards. The Knitting Factory is one of the most amazing venues ever: incredibly personal and intimate, this spot might just be the best place to see a band up close. Unless you are the really short person that always gets stuck behind me. Sorry. Sometimes there are some young'ns wearing band tees that make you nauseous, but where doesn't that happen?
The show I went to Sunday lined up Rilo Kiley, The Good Life, and Mayday. All three bands are on the talented Saddle Creek record label based in Omaha, Nebraska, the new Dirty South of Indie Rock and Emo. The label's list of greats includes Desaparecidos, Cursive, and Bright Eyes, among others.
None of us had heard of anything from Mayday, but when we walked in and saw the violin and double bass, we decided they had to be good. Then halfway through the first song we decided they were not so good. But then, by the second song we decided we were dumb and that Mayday was actually pretty good. However, they're one of those bands that you need to go home and think about, so now we're full of internal conflicts. It's difficult to decide. Though it might sound contradictory, Mayday's use of generally uncommon rock band instruments somehow creates a traditional, yet original sound. Your mind's boggled already, huh?
The lead singer of The Good Life was familiar because of his other fantastic band, Cursive. I hadn't heard that much of The Good Life, but what a surprise-- they're amazing. Saddle Creek does not miss. Crazy keyboard riffs mixed with Tim Kasher's mind-blowing voice (yes, ladies, he is as hot as he sounds. Wait, do girls read this site?), make a powerful sound that cannot be ignored. Every member is on target and extraordinary.
Then it was Rilo Kiley time. But first a side note: While setting up, guitarist and occasional singer Blake Sennet wore a Syracuse Basketball sweatshirt. That was cool, because though it meant nothing to him, three out of the four of us went to/currently attend Syracuse. But back to the main event.
Happiness is a Rilo Kiley show. I've never seen a more fun loving, energetic bunch of bandmates. Their music might just be the cure for the common cold. The audience is automatically head over heals for lead singer Jenny Lewis. She has a sizzlingly beautiful presence, but not in a threatening way. Even men who are petrified of girls, like my friends, could find Jenny approachable. Blake Sennet goes crazy on the guitar and somehow it makes it out in one piece instead of catching fire. Bassist Pierre de Reeder was not so lucky. He actually did break one of his strings, and kept on playing. I believe drummer Dave Rock was replaced by the awesome Jason. I don't know his last name, he never told me. But a first name basis is always cool. The highlight of the night was during With Arms Outstretched. Rilo Kiley was joined by Denver Dalley of Desaparecidos, Kasher, and heart-throb/genius Conor Oberst of Desaparecidos and Bright Eyes. Jenny and Kasher came out into the crowd, and I must say, Kasher's hand came into contact with my ass. I liked it. A lot. To sum up the show: best ever.
But my friend Ted and I couldn't leave it at that. We had to go and get all groupie-like at the bar. While Ted's older and cooler brothers sat back and watched, we proceeded to talk to any Saddle Creek artist we could find and introduce ourselves, as if we mattered. We even offered to help move equipment. Yeah. Good thing these guys were really cool about it. They probably deal with lame people like me all the time.
So, if you haven't been to the Knitting Factory or listened to a Saddle Creek band you haven't lived yet. Get on that.