Now, my feelings about this band are pretty strong, so one might expect I would give these guys high marks no matter what. In fact, my enjoyment of this show was drastically compromised by its format. It was billed as "acoustic," even though they definitely plugged in instruments for a number of songs. What actually transpired was that the group knocked the energy level down a few notches, dropped various pieces from their songs, and let Scott do the whole show sitting down. This was a huge disappointment to me, because my favorite songs by this group are the rousing, uptempo fist-pumpers. The arrangement of the show definitely played to the group's slower, more folksy tendancies. Unfortunately, I often felt like I was sitting in on one of those evervating 'World Cafe' guest spots, or even worse, an episode of VH1 'Storytellers.' Many of the songs devolved into full audience sing-alongs, which left me feeling nauseated. All of this adds up to what could have been an absolute disaster of a show, and it might have been, if not for the fact that Scott Hutchinson was obviously, and unappologetically wasted.
The idea of the performance was that the group would perform songs at the audience's request. When the first song called out was 'Backwards Walk,' Scott dismissed it with a "That's a weird fuckin' song tae start with!" However, they did it, and one of the good things about the show was I got to hear stuff that I hadn't necessarily here them do at other concerts. In fact, the most poignant moment of the night for me was Scott's performance of 'Poke,' one of the, in my opinion, lesser songs from the last album. However, alone, acoustic, with the audience in an enraptured hush, the song's painful relationship portrait took on a vivid new meaning for me, especially during the powerful second verse. The group also did a lot of stuff off their first album, with which I'm not very familiar. 'Snake' was good, because afterwards Scott claimed that the song was about an actual friend of his, and not his penis. He also explained that 'I Feel Better' is the sequel to snake. No question, the between song banter was the best thing about the show. When someone requested 'Empire Falls,' Scott warned that he could only do half of it because he couldn't remember the rest of the lyrics. At one point a bottle of whiskey found its way to stage, from which Scott took a generous tug. During the sing-along to 'Keep Yourself Warm,' Scott called to the audience "Where won't you find love?" In all, I think they covered every song from Midnight Organ Fight, except 'Who'd You Kill Now,' a good half-dozen + songs from The Greys ("I love that fuckin song..." Scott slurred when someone requested the title track), and even the Christmas song. The perfomances themselves were actually pretty tedious though, and to my shame, I flirted with the idea of leaving early. Thankfully, my friend Kathleen told me to man up, and I stuck around through the encore, where the group covered a song by a group called "Entrance" I believe, which Scott described as a "band's band." In the end, I'm very glad I saw it though to the end. I love these guys, and can't wait for the next record. I just hope it ends up being more like their "electric" shows, and less like their "acoustic" ones. God knows they've got momentum behind them now.