I WAS THERE . . . AC Newman and Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele @ Bowey Ballroom, 3.15.09
The experience of going to a Sunday night concert can go one of two ways: 1) it may suck because the band/musician sucks, OR 2) it may knock your socks off because the band/musician do NOT suck and everyone at the show is there because they want to be. Ah, the dedication of those willing to sacrifice Monday-morning coherence for the sake of good music! Fortunately, Option #2 was in full swing at AC Newman‘s concert at the Bowery Ballroom this past Sunday.
The opening act was a breezy four-man crew called Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele. By the astute strum of the eponymous stringed instrument, May sailed the crowd into a bout of tropical nostalgia found on his album release The Good Feeling of Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele. Catchy tunes like “Meet Me in the Garden” and “Pierce Avenue” wafted island-kitsch while more upbeat numbers like “You Can’t Force a Dance Party” highlighted Mr. May’s eclectic lyrical stylings. With a steel guitar for a voice, May’s capricious vocals were reminiscent of islands and California girls–a hop, skip, and a plane ride away from his origin in the belly of Taylor, Mississippi. These mellow-mood merry-makers set the tone for the power pop to follow.
AC Newman’s latest solo album Get Guilty is a testament to Newman’s riff-producing, lispy-lyric talents. Backed by a leggy violinist, a dressy bass player, a “Silver Fox” of a guitarist/keys, a well-booted tambourine gal, a Will Ferrell look-alike drummer, and a prepster multi-instrumentalist, Newman’s tunes snap-crackled-and-popped. While the band’s consistency makes them an easy listen, it also causes things to feel a bit too safe thus rendering the live performance as just one long-lasting piece of power pop. Still yet, it’s a worthwhile chew.