Okay, let me get this out of the way first. My wife has long been a fan of this band and I have for the most part ignored them. I tend to be less than enthralled with female singer songwriter stuff. Though I have fond memories of 10,000 MANIACS, TORI AMOS and the like, my tastes mostly fall toward the male dominated stuff (easier to sing in the car I guess). So I approached last night's show at Hotel Cafe with slightly less enthusiasm than the usual musical sojourn. So here it is, I was wrong, my dear wife. They were excellent and I can't stop humming their songs.
There is something endearing about seeing a band in a tiny venue. There must have been about 40 people in the room. The band had no roadies and no pretense to their performance. All you had was a singer/guitarist and a singer/drummer. The sound was crisp and the intimate setting allowed you to really absorb the music. Lead singer Courtney Kaiser has a nice dulcet tone to her vocals that is in many ways reminiscent of THE COWBOY JUNKIES and THE THROWING MUSES. This was most evident on some of the newer songs off their second album, "Secret Transit", particularly "Riverboat Dream" and "The Wait."
When the band turns up the amps they have a nice shuffle and shake to their sound that showed up on the standout songs of the set like "Worn Out Nervous Condition" and "Ready To Go" (which was the catchiest song of the set). When drummer Benjamin Cartel took the lead on "Minefield" the sound morphed into something akin to Elliot Smith. It takes a lot to make me change my mind about a band, but their show did it for me, sealed by their walking through the crowd for a acoustic performance of "Memphis".
Top it off with the fact that the band mans it's own merchandise stand after the show and you can't help but root for them to find at least enough success where they get some help on the road. Take some time to go buy their new record.
(mp3) Kaiser Cartel -- Worn Out Nervous Condition