La Cerca, George Squier Orchestra, Citrus

Plush, Friday, March 18

La Cerca's Andrew Gardner admitted they were hung over from the previous day's St. Patty's revelries, but that didn't stop the rock at Plush Friday night. La Cerca is one of those Tucson bands that has been around forever, has seen countless personnel changes and plays out infrequently, but when they do, one wonders why Gardner's talent for crafting energetic pop songs hasn't been noticed by more people, locally and nationally.

These days, Gardner has Jacob Cooper on drums, Miguel Villarreal on bass and Mr. Tidy Paws playing keyboards and saxophone. It's one of the better incarnations of La Cerca; not since the days of Steve Krolikowski and Michael Newman has the band sounded this together. Cooper's minimal drum kit stayed right in line with Gardner's uptempo strumming, and the saxophone added a swanky edge to Gardner's songs. The band played mostly new songs, throwing in only one song, "Went Obscure," off of La Cerca's 2001 release, Goodbye Phantom Engineer. Gardner said after the show that the new lineup has been recording, and an EP might be a possibility in the near future. The new material is classic Gardner with an even tighter pop seam. "Hit songs, two years from now," said Gardner during the show.

Unfortunately, the evening didn't start out on as interesting of a note. Los Angeles' Citrus opened the show, playing predictable rock to about five people; the lead singer had that overly emotional voice common with bands like Matchbox 20, and he kept kicking his leg up and sticking his arm in the air dramatically as he played his acoustic guitar. The one good thing about boring music is that it gives you time to notice things you might not have otherwise; for example, if you look closely at the patterns on the windows at Plush, you can see a tiger face and a ladybug.

George Squier Orchestra plays '60s-esque loose rock with inconsequential lyrics; they're fun, but messy covers of Pixies songs are inexcusable. By the time La Cerca took the stage, most everyone was gone, which was the saddest part of the entire evening. La Cerca's set was by far the best one, and seeing as they don't play out often, more people should have been there to see it.

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