Miniature Tigers and The Morning Benders at Rhythm Room

It was difficult to tell who the crowd at the Rhythm Room were more interested in seeing last night, the opener or the headliner. Sure, the Berkeley based indie-pop outfit The Morning Benders had the top billing for the show, but this is Phoenix and the opener was Miniature Tigers.

The returning home town favorites, who moved to Brooklyn recently, opened up their set by playing several new tracks from their soon to be released album Fortress. The new tracks sounded great and were well received by the audience. When the band launched into "Tell It to the Volcano" the song was greeted by cheers of recognition.

The Tigers put on a high energy and fantastic live show and managed to get a lot of the audience moving along with their songs, particularly the crowd on the under 21 side of the Rhythm Room. A fact that Miniature Tigers lead singer Charlie Brand didn't miss either. He joined right in with the enthusiastic group of young fans for one of the bands "dance" songs.

After all that, Miniature Tigers were going to be a tough act to follow. Fortunately, The Morning Benders were up to the task.

The Morning Benders are riding high on a nice wave of buzz from the recent release of their sophomore album Big Echo. The band took to the stage last night and played almost the entire album almost in order. A couple of standouts from The Morning Benders set included the songs "Promises" and "Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)."

The highlight of the night came when The Morning Benders played their song "Excuses," which is arguably the best song on Big Echo. The song, which features a very nice 1950s doo-wop style, saw singer Chris Chu show off his ability as a crooner. A fact that was clearly evident from the number of female concert goers swooning in the front row.

Regardless of if you came to see Miniature Tigers or The Morning Benders both bands delivered and together put on one hell of a show.

The Morning Benders Setlist:
"Wet Cement"
"Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)"
"Pleasure Sighs"
"Hand Me Downs"
"Mason Jar"
"All Day Day Light"

Critics Notebook

Last Night: The Delta Mirror, Miniature Tigers, The Morning Benders at Rhythm Room

Better Than: Watching American Idol.

Personal Bias: The Morning Benders new album Big Echo is a personal favorite of mine.

Random Detail: The Morning Benders lead singer Chris Chu co-produced Miniature Tigers new album Fortress, which is scheduled to be released sometime this summer.

Further Listening: The Morning Benders new album Big Echo is really good and is definitely worth a listen.

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