We arrived to Nightmare Of You's CD release show a tad late, but that's okay, as the openers offered very few moments of interest.
The NSG played pseudo-complex pop-rock with a singer who probably would've given his black dress shirt and tie to be Daryl Palumbo.
Army Of Me nearly put me to sleep.
Finally, Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band took to the stage and busted into a set of Bright Eyes-inspired, but really upbeat tunes. My opinion of him live didn't stray too far from my opinion of him recorded: The more paced, energetic songs work really well, and the slower ones are a bit more of a bore. It was obvious Devine's feelings came straight through any lyric, though, as he'd be practically screaming at every emotional climax of a song. As I'm not familiar with his older material, some of which was played, I can't quite mention the pre-Split The Country, Split The Street songs played, but off said record, "No One Else's Problem," "Afterparty," "Haircut," and the song that finished the Goddamn Band's appearance, "Cotton Crush," which surprisingly didn't have guest vocalist Jesse Lacey come up to do his part, though it was likely for the band to be in attendance somewhere. I could do without the fangirl screams that would've resulted, though, so I'll take the barter gladly. A mostly fun set.
The same could be said for Nightmare Of You's songs. You'd think the live setting would force the band into their more stripped down (better) setting, but with a keyboard replicating any necessary effects or electronics, it wasn't neccessarily the case. The great songs ("Dear Scene, I Wish I Were Deaf," "The Days Go By Oh So Slow," "Why Am I Always Right") were spectacular and rousing, while the more middling songs (B-side "Dopesick Couples On The Lower East Side," "In The Bathroom Is Where I Want You") were pleasant but hardly an extension beyond. Sammy Siegler looked very admirable on the skins, keeping it well in time and looking rather effortless. From where I was standing I didn't hear any catcalling, but Reilly did throw a line in one song rambling "yesmorrisseywasabiginfluenceonmethankyou." Someone in the crowd even shouted at one point "play old stuff!" to which Reilly laughed and said "old stuff? Our record just came out yesterday!" Oh, Mr. Reilly, if you only knew... Anyway, "Thumbelina," "I Want To Be Buried In Your Backyard," "Marry Me" (with its country tones seemingly toned down) was also played. Actually, the entire album might've been played, plus the aforementioned B-side. The band had left the stage after the set, and returned for one more, but denied it being an encore; "we just forgot to play this song." The song, "Heaven Runs On Oil," was prefaced with Reilly saying "This song goes out to George W. Bush for doing such an amazing job" and immediately cackling with laughter upon the statement's finish. It's the sole track on the disc with any sort of political matter, but its position both on the disc and on the set list here keeps a good flow about things.
So, to wrap it up: The openers, save for Devine, were snooze-worthy. More than half of the Devine set was uplifiting, acoustic and folk-tinged rock tunes. Nightmare Of You played excellently, but more excellently on the more exciting songs.