The City on Film / Piglet - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The City on Film / Piglet

live in Chicago (2006)

live show

The show took place at an old church right by UIC that's been turned into an arts center. It still had the gigantic neon cross hanging above the altar and movie theater seats. I can't remember what the hell it's called, which is a shame, since there are more good shows coming up.

Sad to say, we missed Brian Moss play. Piglet was the first band we saw, a three-piece consisting of guitar, drums, and six-string bass. I was a little bit weirded out by the six-string bass, since I'm a pretty firm believer that you don't need more than four strings to play anything, but it looks like I was wrong. That guy used those six strings, and he used them well. I guess the best way to describe them is early-ninties indie rock with a jam band sensibility. It sounds atrocious, but Piglet pulls it off. The drums are a relentless hammering of varied grooves, and the guitar and bass trade off and mirror noodling riffs and melodic interchanges faster than you can say King Crimson. And the band is tight. You can tell they practice hard and love what they do. Maybe an easy way to describe them would be caP'n Jazz and the Grateful Dead, if the Dead weren't country-fried. With some elements of free jazz. Anyway, it was an amazing experience live, and made me buy their CD.

Closing the show was the City on Film á la electro-band. This was my second time seeing them with this lineup: Bob on electric guitar, Mike on bass, Lauren on keys and backing vocals, and Rachel on violin. And electronic beats supplied by what I think was Bob's iPod. And let me tell you, it was a lot tighter. And as always, it's interesting to see how the songs are arranged. On the album, "How a Helicopter Sounds" is an acousitc ditty, but with this lineup, it's an upbeat dance-y number. "For Holly," one of the full band numbers from In Formal Introduction, translates slightly odd since the organic, full band sound from the album is now hollowed out a bit by the electric drum beats. "Pony's Last Trick," a decent full band track from the American Diary EP, is perhaps the best song to hear live, as the arrangement spans the gap between melodic indie rock to full-fledged electronica. Other songs were a guitar/violin version of "A Dozen Roses," and a cover of "Come on Eileen" that had the whole church clapping along. All in all, it was a solid show by Bob and Co., and definitely worth seeing if you're a fan of the albums. This is Mr. Nanna at his best, exploring the possibilities of having a solo project.