Friday, August 03, 2007

Live Review: The Return of The Rentals

Download: The Rentals - "The Man With Two Brains"

The Rentals are headed out to MPLS on August 11th (and Chicago on the 14th), but I was lucky enough to catch them in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Goldenboy opened up the show. I'd never heard of them before Wednesday evening, but I was pretty satisfied with their set. Goldenboy has worked with Matt Sharp, and it's readily apparent in their sunny, SoCal sound. I wouldn't necessarily say that they're anything to write home about (even though that's what I'm doing right now), but if you like the Rentals, you might consider turning up for their set.

You might want to go for a drink during Copeland. I've never been a big fan of the whole Aqualung/boy-with-a-piano scene and Copeland was no exception. By the time they hit the stage, I had already been up since 4 a.m. (having gone tidepooling that morning) and they almost put me to sleep. Copeland had five dudes who looked like they had just robbed an H & M up on stage, but still could come up with nothing unique or original in terms of songwriting and instrumentation. On top of it all, their songs had the same plodding drum beat. Whoever booked these guys really dropped the ball.

Luckily, the Rentals blasted any vestige of sleep from my body. If anyone had any doubts about Matt Sharp, following his stint as a sad drunk, let them be laid to rest. Sharp was totally David Byrne-ing out for the whole set. His presence, and the enthusiasm of the rest of the Rentals was absolutely infectious. All of the members of the band were dancing and playing with explosive energy. My biggest concern about the whole Rentals reunion was that it would be like the Pumpkins (who, incidentally, were playing down the street) reunion: Just for the money, and not for the love of playing as a band. It wasn't.

The Rentals rolled out all the classics from their first two albums, as well as some new ones from their upcoming Last Little Life E.P. While pretty much all of the mid 90's alt rock scene has fallen into shambles, the Rentals displayed their ability to remain relevant, even on scant new material. Honestly, I haven't had such a good time at a show in quite a while. My only complaint is that they didn't end on "Friends of P." The "Friends of P"/"Waiting" doublet that graced the end fo the first set sent them off with such a bang that I was almost disappointed that they came back.

But that's only a minor disappointment. It's a complaint that pales in comparison to the amazing rock-out that was Wednesday's show. I highly, highly recommend hitting the show when they stop by.

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(April Wright)

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