Scott Lucas and the Married Men and Black Carl, Rhythm Room, 6/27/12

Scott Lucas, Black Carl, Saddles Rhythm Room Wednesday, June 27, 2012

By Michael Cryer

See also: Scott Lucas and the Married Men: Local H Frontman Stretches Out With Heavy Americana Somehow the stage shrunk last night at the Rhythm Room. Or at least it felt like it. Scott Lucas and The Married Men had the most players but used less of the stage, which seems counterintuitive but isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some bands know how better to use space than others, whether it's physical or abstract.

Local gunslingers Saddles opened the night with a guitar-tuning set, and Black Carl was as funky and soulful as usual (didn't know singer Emma Pew had gone blonde -- she looked like childlike until she sang and made us all feel small). Shapeshifter, maybe.

Black Carl did reveal a "new song" last night which was reminiscent of the early '80s and another blonde. Apparently the song was banged out in 48 hours. Make more of those!

The ironic '80s are closer at hand than the soulful '60s anyway, right? If you like Kavinsky and Lovefoxx, B. Carl, then please take a look at Giorgio Moroder -- everyone benefits. And if you do decide to stick with soul, make it late. Later than you ever knew it could happen. Like how late Ottis used to show up for lunch.

Lucas and the Married Men (pun excused) approached the stage in outfits, like period costumes: black suits and ties, a fedora . . . That's what you look like when you're serious. You wear a hat, maybe a feather. Thing is, you still gotta haul your own gear even if you're wearing satin, and you still gotta rock. And the Men did/they do.

Shit got serious after the Men played the title track "Blood Half Moons."

"Moon" is a "road song as Lucas pointed out in an interview with the Up on the Sun earlier this week. It's spacious. It's dark. Gives you time to think about things. Things you might not want to know about yourself. When the Men backed up "Moon" with the heavy "Steady Gaze," goose bumps rose on the audience's arms, not because of the deep thinking, but because there was no time to think. One space had been filled with another. Good stuff.

What sucks about the Married's dichotomous range is instruments such as the violin and accordion get drowned out when the heavy stuff takes over. After asking Rebeca Manthe how her violin survives three guitars, she said it's a work in progress. All the "hot" instruments are pushed to one side of the stage, which, Rebeca suggested, in theory works best in an outdoor venue, but the band makes do no matter what.

Toward the end of the set, Lucas' pop-like "Heavy Lidded Love" recalled Nirvana's "In Bloom" -- the ironic melody reinforced the song's darkness. The Beatles also showed up last night when the band mixed in "I Got a Felling," allowing for the outro, "There Ain't No Grave."

Lucas repeated the song's refrain at least ten times. People started to clap after number five, and then they stopped to listen.

Critic's Notebook: Overheard: "But I'm in the band." No shit.

Best Instrument: Randy Payne's giant bass drum. God rest your soul, John Bonham

Tawdry Detail: Wink, wink.

Random Detail: A CPR dummy in the back seat of a Mazda.

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