Steff and the Articles, the Electric Blankets, Sorry About the Garden; Club Congress, Saturday, Aug. 2

Several months ago, while conversing with an employee of what was then called Plush (now Flycatcher—if you don't know, now you know), I was treated to a story about a then-recent Plush show which featured three bands who had at least one member per act who worked at rival Fourth Avenue bar Mr. Head's. This employee called the performance Mr. Head's: The Musical. It's funny, then, that so many moons later, three bands that have one thing in common—at least one member among them that is employed by none other than the Flycatcher—would all play together at a different venue. Sadly, Flycatcher: The Musical didn't take place at Mr. Head's.

Due to confusion as to when this show was actually starting —7 p.m. on a Saturday is just a little early, Club Congress friends—quite a few people including myself missed openers Sorry About the Garden. Sorry, Sorry About the Garden. Judging by overheard conversations by audience members who did catch the piano-driven trio, the band was fantastic. I've heard that a lot lately.

After a season long break, the Electric Blankets threw down some serious hot fun in the summertime. With songs anchored by drummer Steven Romo and bassist Tadj Roi's rhythms, mostly swiped out of Simple Minds' deathless new wave anthem "Don't You Forget About Me," it's hard to believe that the Electric Blankets were ever part of some garage rock revival, as was perceived when they first appeared three years ago. It's clear that the band has been rejuvenated by its break—Erick Bornmann's guitar positively shimmered throughout (aside from his 7,000 effects pedals onstage) and singer Raul Michel crooned like the child of Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall, just dying to get out of detention.

Of course, the night belonged to headliners Steff and the Articles, celebrating the release of a new record and a tour kickoff. And the band just shined: Singer Steff Koeppen is blessed with an immaculate set of soulful pipes, with a nuanced piano technique to match, bassist Chris Pierce and drummer Tom Beech work some surprisingly raw beats for this kind of jazz-pop, and the presence of violinist Alex Tuggle and a guest singer on a few songs was lovely. Most lovely was seeing a local group not playing any kind of rock or hip-hop, and throwing some much-needed grit into a much-maligned genre.

Joshua Levine,

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