As of the bitter-cold day before the bitter-cold day of the show, I had never actually heard a song by any of the bands playing, so this made for quite the rarity on punknews - a completely unbiased review.
At a quarter to ten, a scraggly-looking Jake Bellows from the band Neva Dinova took the stage to play some acoustic tunes for the surprisingly-swelling crowd, with another member helping out on a background-setting electric guitar. He kept things interesting with his in-between song banter, explaining some of the songs for us. The most peculiar one was about a Jerry's kid suffering from a life-threatening disease at a hospital, who had fallen in love with the nurse but didn't want to admit it for it'd break her heart once he'd died. This sick child was also involved in a pool among all the sick kids on who would die first, with not much of a reward for the victor. Overall, the set was alright.
Tilly and the Wall marched onto the stage from the right, single file, stomping and chanting "T-I-L-L-Y, we don't give a fuck!" until the five-piece dove into their set. They obviously have a lot of fun on stage, and literally incorporated a trash can full of instruments into the songs. Their main weapons of choice were an acoustic guitar, a tap dancer, two main female vocalists, and a keyboardist, who rotated between Nintendo blips and bleeps, Midi sounds, and piano and organ settings. However, they also used maracas, two different types of xylophones, and banged on closed suitcases and a trash can lid. At first, they provided more of an entertainment value to me than musical enjoyment, but two-thirds into their set I realized that their brand of harmonizing indie pop was so sugary I'd nearly leave with cavities. Their cover of "Hey Ya" was surprisingly good, with the keyboard dead on, the vocals providing an interesting variation from André 3000's, and the band remembering the obligatory audience participation on the bridge.
Blake (who actually looks and sounds like 1955's George McFly) and Jenny from Rilo Kiley soon after took the stage for their acoustic performance. Saddle Creek's representatives put on a fine performance, including all the significant country and blues overtones into their mild indie sounds. Jenny's soaring, Southern-sounding vocals definitely reminded me of the now-defunct Nothing Nice to Say comic that mentions the indie underground's newfound obsession with country. Her harmonica melodies set the mood nicely in some tunes, as did the shaker in its two appearances, the second of which was done by an audience member. They switched up the vocal responsibilities on "Spectacular Views," which would have provided a cool listen had I actually heard the original beforehand. When the band closed the set, "With Arms Outstretched" had them call for the rest of the night's lineup to come on stage and join them. Jenny stood up for the first time, initially on the chair, and then sauntered onto the floor, gracefully stepping around and singing into the mic, with the crowd clapping along to finish it. In all, I wasn't spectacularly enshrined with it, but had I been a fan I'm sure I'd have thoroughly enjoyed the acoustic take on the songs.
Set List [from the paper, not completely in order or accurate]:
it just is
A better son/daughter
somebody else's clothes [about Jenny's father]
simply irresistable [didn't actually play]
absence of God
it just is [crossed out, 'Spec views (B)' written in]
i never [also crossed out, 'Spec views (J)' written in]
rock n roll suicide
spectacular views [crossed out]
I: II [crossed out]
a man/me/then jim