A.C. Newman at the Duck Room, 10/29/12: Review and Setlist

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The set featured little banter from Newman -- he spoke mostly to his band while they tore through seventeen songs in just 71 minutes. He may not be quite as dry a stage presence as Jay Farrar, but Newman isn't exactly effusive up there.

Newman played the majority of the new record with some selections from his previous two albums: Get Guilty and The Slow Wonder. Newman's solo material lacks the sort of surefire standout hit he's got in spades with the Pornos.

As a solo artist, Newman hasn't really punched through -- the possible exception being "Prophets," which was featured in a season-ending episode of the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother. Newman wryly referenced this brush with prime time last night, saying he was "living the dream."

On songs from Get Guilty -- "The Palace at 4 a.m." and "The Changeling (Get Guilty)" in particular -- Newman hit his power pop stride, but the muddy mix of the vocals combined with his already nasally delivery did not do justice to the powerful emotions contained in the new material. On the whole it was a pleasant enough evening of rock music. But given the quality of Newman's track record, I was hoping for better.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I tend to cringe when a musician teaches an audience what to sing or do during one of her songs, as Laura Burhenn did when she led the crowd through a call and response for the title track from the new record.

Overheard: "I'm feeling kind of J. Crew today. Anybody want to order a Simon Cowell sweater?" - AC Newman, commenting on the St. Louis weather.

Setlist I'm Not Talkin' The Palace at 4 a.m. On The Table Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns Prophets Strings The Changeling (Get Guilty) You Could Get Lost Out Here Drink To Me, Babe, Then Do Your Own Time The Should Have Shut Down The Streets Like A Hitman, Like a Dancer Come Crash The Heartbreak Rides Hostages Miracle Drug Encore There's Money In New Wave

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