With their star swiftly rising thanks to a slate of dates opening for Ben Folds and a showcase at SxSW, a lot of us showing up at Miniature Tigers' show at Yucca Tap Room last night kind of thought this could be one the last times we'd see the band for free. If that's the case, we got a great show to remember the era by.
The Yucca was, for a Wednesday night, exceptionally full for the show, which also featured Mia Riddle, Milo the Mayor and Art for Starters. Not only were there people aplenty, the crowd was well connected, with everyone from former Format-er Sam Means to restaurateur Chris Bianco hanging out at the corner of Southern and Mill.
The only drag of the night was, for me, the start time. Mini T's singer Charlie Brand is an obsessive Lost viewer, we're told, so he asked to be put on the bill after the season premiere was over. Expected start time: "11 -- 11:45 at the latest." Two band members were coming in from L.A. and hit some snafus along the way though, so, long story short, half the band arrived by van at 12:10 a.m. and the first notes of "Cannibal Queen" weren't played until 12:57.
They quickly made up for the delay. Playing a set that closely mirrored the track list of their record, the band showed they're working their new touring guitarist in pretty well. "Dino Damage" sounded fabulous, as did a loose version of "The Wolf." A new song, "Japanese Woman Living in My Closet," impressed me as did the title track of their debut album, Tell It to the Volcano. Charlie, who's often said to be a little neurotic, seemed very comfortable playing a set in front of so many friends, except when peer-pressured in to downing a shot, which he took only after much complaint.
Last Night: Miniature Tigers at Yucca Tap Room
Better Than: Having to admit you weren't there later. It was a long night, but if these guys make some waves nationally -- and we're giving good odds they will -- you're going to hate yourself for not seeing them while they were still playing free shows in divey bars.
Personal Bias: Lost sucks. Look, I watched X-Files back in the day, so I know the producers are only stringing you suckers along, only to eventually contradict themselves in some bullshit way, revealing the ultimate plotlessness, and pointlessness, of the show.
Random Detail: Charlie Brand on his denim shirt and jeans: "I heard the term 'Canadian Tuxedo' for the first time tonight."
Further Listening: Ben Folds' Supersunnyspeedgraphic, The LP. It's actually very good. His project with Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer from this fall is also pretty good, particularly "Oasis" and "The Point of it All."
By the Way: My friend Kelly had some fun asking drummer Rick Schaier about his mustache, which she guessed may have been inspired by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo. We later learned Clubs Editor Benjamin Leatherman spent some time talking about Weezer's influence on the band with Brand earlier in the evening. Kismet.
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One More Thing: If you're going to buy Charlie Brand a drink, better not make it a shot.
Oh, and in the interest of fill disclosure: One of the guys in the band is dating an Up on the Sun contributor, who also works for New Times in a non-editorial role.
Photo by Jonathan McNamara