LIVE REVIEW: Miniature Tigers @ Hotel Utah, 7/23/10
Hotel Utah’s side room was packed to overflowing to see Miniature Tigers Friday night and San Francisco-based Angel Island brought honky-tonk-tinged rock to the rather playful lineup. Lead singer (or Ponyboy-styled greaser â€” Outsiders reference, anyone?) Justin Goldman vocals were sweet and earnest, if just a bit one-dimensional, surprising with the band’s emotional lyrics. If you’re a fan of locals Two Gallants, you’d definitely be a fan of Angel Island, who seem like Two Gallants’ little brothers. The highlight of their performance had to be the winding build up of “Kicking and Screaming,” featuring some pretty ferocious drumming by Robert Jakubs.
Considering the fact that Delaware’s Spinto Project bursts at the seams with six members, they better bring a whole lot of sound, but the energy that burned on that stage, despite Hotel Utah’s smaller capacity, sucked the whole crowd into a vortex of dance and quirky charisma. They’ve been around since 1995, and show no signs of slowing down, as we saw with the energy explosion that was “Later On,” which was full of warped harmonies. Bassist Thomas Hughes was reminiscent of Duckie in Pretty in Pink in everyone’s favorite lip-syncing scene as he sang and danced all over the stage with guitarist Joey Hobson. Their cover of “Brazil,” which they described as a “hipshaker,” totally was, and the audience was on their feet dancing. Their final song “Oh Mandy,” slightly more serious sounding, was one of the most beautiful.
After the attack of sound that was Spinto Project, the crowd was amped for headliners Miniature Tigers. The band launched into a set that was a healthy mix of tunes from their latest album Fortress â€” released today â€” and past albums. Frontman Charlie Brand, who has hair to rival Justin Bieber, announced that he was born in San Francisco and “he was going to die here… tonight.” He didn’t, but instead walked down into the audience as he sang “Goldskull,” off the new album. Most of the new stuff sounds deeper and a bit darker, less of the light-heartedness that is part of songs like the fantastic crowd-favorite “Cannibal Queen,” but definitely is more of a mature progression of the band’s sound. The harmonies of Brand and drummer Rick Alvin Schaier, especially with the spectacularly sonic “Bullfighter Jacket,” were always spot-on. The band gave the crowd love, and we were all starry-eyed as Brand told us we were “the best city of all the cities that ever existed.” And at that moment, Miniature Tigers were the best band of all the bands… well, you get it.