At its core, rock & roll is a simple art form.
Though at times, AC Newman piles layers of sounds and effects to gain the aesthetic he's searching for, the three minute pop song still conveys everything he needs. In the last decade-plus, the prolific songwriter has honed his wide array of pop skills over five albums with the New Pornographers and his three solo efforts. Last night he brought those skills to St. Louis with complementary opening act of the Mynabirds in tow. The promise of an evening of indie rock had the Duck Room half full of mostly 30-somethings buzzing and ready to be entertained.
Fronting the Mynabirds, the lithe and beautiful Laura Burhenn and her band took the stage a little after 8 p.m. for solid 45 minute opening set. She wore a denim vest with her band's t-shirt design on the back over a mini skirt and black stockings. The tiny Burhenn relied less on her keyboard playing and more on the bass of Patrick Damphier and the guitar and pedal steel work of Tom Hnatow to help her create the color of the music.
Her breathy voice soothed at the lower end of the register as her band mate Rebecca Marie Miller pitched in with higher harmonies. When Damphier and drummer Nicole Childrey chimed in, it became a thing of true beauty. Both Buhrenn and Miller danced and moved about the front of the cramped stage.
Highlights of the Mynabirds set included the bouncy "Let The Record Show" and the sparse, haunting waltz of Give It Time" from the 2010 record What We Lose In The Fire We Gain in the Flood. The biggest impact from the new album, Generals, came from the songs "Disaster," which Burhenn dedicated to Sandy, and the title track.
The soft spoken Newman keeps his solo career completely separate from his more well-known work with his Canadian super group. In between the critically acclaimed work of the New Pornos, Newman has carved out time for a solo career that has culminated in the recently released Shut Down The Streets. The album chronicles an emotional time in Newman's life, including the death of his mother. He dedicated this one to her.
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