By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
Sounds Like: Pure power pop should sparkle and shine, and the band, led by singers Brian McClelland and Jenn Malzone and guitarist and songwriter (and original founder) Tom Stephens, did its best to do just that. When the musicians collectively jangle, they do so like a single chrome-plated tambourine; when they get fuzzy, they sound like a Bakelight AM radio playing the summer hits; when they harmonize, they make the world go away. The band can be clever and coy, but it's always musical, especially when Stephens dashes off a surprising, concise guitar solo or McClelland and Malzone lock in harmonies. Over the years the band has weathered numerous lineup changes; its pop core remains irresistible.
Recommended If You Like: The New Pornographers, Sloan and Big Star
Instrumentation: Electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and harmony vocals
Crowd Response: Tight Pants Syndrome deserved a better environment than a stage in the window at the front of the Dubliner. Chicks with breasts as fake as their IDs streamed through the door and barely stopped talking on cell phones to take a breath. The crowd that had come to rock was held rapt, urging the band on through the set with applause that, warm as it was, couldn't overcome the din of chatter through the rest of the club. And the band handled the less than ideal environment with good humor and professionalism.
Influences: The Beatles, the Raspberries, Paul McCartney and Wings, ELO
If you could only take one album on a road trip, what would it be and why? "Probably Sparks' Kimono My House, because it's so over the top and tuneful," says Stephens.
"The Zombies' Odessey and Oracle, because it regularly makes my weep. And who doesn't love a long road trip with a crybaby?" says McClelland.
Next St. Louis Show: July 8 at the Warehouse