When a club books a show with little time to promote, it has two options: Cut the cover, or pad the bill with local acts guaranteed to draw. Last Friday night, Club Congress did both for a show featuring national buzz acts Princeton and Throw Me the Statue.
Locals RCougar opened with their semi-psych-pop, which made an easy segue to Princeton, out of Eagle Rock, Calif. In just two years, Princeton have caught the eye of key industry tastemakers such as the organizers of the CMJ Music Festival, at which Princeton will perform in October.
Princeton have indie sensation Vampire Weekend to thank for their meteoric rise--even as a trio at Congress, VW comparisons were inevitable as Princeton sampled the edgy chamber-pop tunes off their Bloomsbury EP. Of special note were the Beatles-esque "Ms. Bentwich," and "The Waves," which could easily pass as the latest Jens Lekman single.
In fact, headlining tourmates Throw Me the Statue joined Princeton for a cover of Lekman's "Maple Leaves." Watching these seven nerdy young boys in their penny loafers, hitting bells, chimes, drums and tambourines, gleefully clapping along with the audience, I realized there would be no easy segue to the next act, the latest version of black-clad, bombastic '80s throwbacks The Year of Acceleration.
After taking most of 2008 off, The Year has reformed as The Static Session, keeping the three core members of Chris (guitar/vocals) and Scott (bass) O'Gorman and Josh Harrison (drums). Previously, The Year's music could be best summed up as a dramatic reading of U2, Echo and the Bunnymen and Oasis--which still holds true for most of the current set. Their strongest material came early on, most notably with "Baby Knows When I'm On," which had a tasty Jesus and Mary Chain riff (keepin' it in the '80s!).
Unfortunately for headliners Throw Me the Statue, the time it took to get the Static Session on and off the stage drove most of their would-be fans elsewhere. A fraction of the early crowd saw Seattle's TMTS, as lead singer Scott Reitherman presented his nervy pop songs like Ray Davies covering The Shins or Guided by Voices.
You live by the local opener; you die by the local opener.