Brooklyn's Bishop Allen and We Are Scientists were supposed to bring their cute-boy rock-pop to Plush last Thursday night. For some reason, both bands cancelled, and original openers Muddy Bug and last-minute add Lagoon had the daunting task of entertaining those of us who had been looking forward to sparkling sentimental pop. Muddy Bug fell a bit short, but Lagoon made it all worthwhile.
Muddy Bug, although they've been around for a while, seemed a little loose around the edges. For the first few songs, there were two guitar players on stage, playing pretty much the same thing; once the second guitar player left and the lead singer picked up his guitar, the band warmed up, and the songs began to gel a bit more. Their version of the Kinks' "Dead End Street," with a guest harmonica player, was more energetically played than their own songs, but their version of the Talking Heads' "And She Was" was not very with it. Although Muddy Bug were probably told to play a longer set to make up for the lack of a third band, their attempted retro-rock seemed to go on for a mite too long.
Lagoon's set, however, was full of newer songs played tightly. All of the musicians in Lagoon are impressive, but drummer Marisa Chattman even had her own (probably high) crowd heckler who kept yelling, "Marisa rocks!" and loudly pointing out that there aren't many girls who can actually play the drums.
Despite the heckler, Lagoon filled in brilliantly for the absent traveling bands. Singer/guitarist David Ziegler-Voll's sad and atmospheric songs work with emotional dynamics, moving from sparkly melodies to jazzier interludes. Lagoon realizes the potential of both of their guitars, using effects and things like e-bow to intensify the highs and lows of their songs. The epic "Ext. 2279" and "The New Slow One" were standouts, and the last song of their set had bassist Woodie Polk showing off his slap-bass skills.
It would have been nice to see Bishop Allen and We Are Scientists, but Lagoon's own brand of sentimental pop was enough to drive away any feelings of disappointment.