Underground Cities Tour Kick Off at The Sail Inn, 6-29-11

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Underground Cities
The Sail Inn
Wednesday, June 29

No amount of preparation or wishful thinking guarantees a successful tour, but certain measures will improve a band's odds. That old adage about "being in a band is like being married" is fitting, since petty arguments about snoring or stink cause more harm than good.

Underground Cities and The Whisperlights have an edge; both bands have previously toured and camaraderie is strong between these bassist sharing "sister bands." Their two-and- a-half week tour began early this morning, following a tour kick off show featuring Future Loves Past, Sister Cities, and a secret guest.

If you hand your money on the secret band being The Whisperlights, you win. It was a logical move, considering they are sharing a van with Underground Cities on this tour.

As I said in my CD release party review, no two Whisperlights shows are ever the same. Last night's setlist was completely different from the songs played the night before, instead focusing on upbeat sing-alongs like "Eaten Alive," "Just Animal," and "Guillotine." It was a good mix of old and new, right down to the unreleased closer, "Mirror Eyes."

Returning as a seven piece, the same incarnation used for this tour, the additional percussion meshed wonderfully with the violin, Rhodes piano, multiple guitars, and lyrical themes exploring love, death, and nautical mishaps.

Underground Cities' stage presence is more definitive of a punk or a metal band than an instrumental band. All five members sway and occasionally headbang to the beat, a testament to the band's metal roots.

The band's sound is one of rise and fall, with swells of rich guitar-rock building up before shifting into new moods before the sound gets too droney or repetitive. The Dalliance Album perfectly captures the unique essence of the band through songs that evoke introspective lucid thoughts.

Live, the songs shift from reminiscence to an energetic collective of smiling musicians lifting the spirits of the audience. Last night's set was comprised of The Dalliance Album and material from the band's upcoming release.

Sister Cities, or "the second half of cities squared," as the singer put it, played a mellow set that fit right in with the current beach trend in music. While the used to aim for a garage rock vibe, the new sound finds them combining the lofty hooks of Air Waves with the dreamy melodies of Beach House. The result was light, guitar driven songs fitting for idyllic summer nights. The songs are nostalgic and friendly, like some long lost pleasant memory.

Future Loves Past rocked a distinctively '70s vibe, recalling the guitar excursions of Neil Young while still keep their feet firmly in the indie-rock present.

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