The Ladybug Transistor | The Crocodile Cafe, Seattle| 7 August 2007
With all of the lineup changes that the The Ladybug Transistor has experienced in the last few years, it’s a tribute to leader Gary Olson that the band is still going. In fact, I think that TLT could give the Fall a run for their money in the amount of people that pass through the band. Though it seems like former members of TLT are still in Olson’s good graces unlike Mark E Smith’s former compatriots.
Although he has a large surrounding cast, Olson is in complete control of the band, its sound, and aesthetics. Keyboard player Kyle Forester jokedcmid-set that the band isn’t allowed to wear logos or shorts on stage. Forester said he got around the shorts rule by wearing a skort once. Olson may be strict, but the band sounds all the better for it. Last night their live sound easily rivaled anything they’ve recorded to date and surpassed it on most of the songs. New guitarist Ben Crum adds a jazzy backbone to all of the songs that I didn’t notice on the new record on which he plays, His guitar reminded me a bit of Blueboy or even a little bit of John Squire before he went all Led Zepplin. Did I mention that the sound last night was truly divine, you could hear everything as if you had headphones on, with Gary’s horn parts floating over the band and putting everything just right. Olson’s Lee Hazelwood (RIP) like baritone seems to be getting better and better with each album, and his combination croon and trumpet on Choking on Air, made it the highlight of the night for me. The band stuck with mostly stuff from their latest album Can’t Wait Another Day, saving their best song Always on the Telephone for near the end of the set. I assume that they had an encore planned, but the sparse crowd just couldn’t gather up enough enthusiasm to bring them back out.
Openers, the Papercuts, who I always seem to confuse with the Postmarks, are a San Francisco three piece band. They were descent, though their sound was a bit murky and the songs tended to on a bit too long with the singer mostly strumming a 12 string guitar throughout. I caught the last two songs of the first opening band Aux Autres. I seem to always catch their last couple songs, this happened a few weeks ago when they opened for Boat and the Shaky Hands. Maybe one day I’ll catch a full set of the girl (drums) – guy (guitar) combo.