The Gay Blades | 12.01.10

After asking someone to “punch the offender in the sternum; it won’t hurt that bad,” he started the song over. All in good fun, of course.

 
 
 
 
 
Cicero’s, St. Louis
 
Imagine: you’re in a band on the road, crammed into a van with two other dudes and all your gear. You spent the entire day en route from one town to the next and all you want to do is rock your ass off. When you arrive, the crowd seems a little thin—but hey, it’s a Wednesday in the middle of the holiday season and it’s cold as hell outside. A lot of bands would shrug it off and go through the motions or bitch and moan about it. But not The Gay Blades. Even though this, their first St. Louis show, was criminally under-attended, the band exuded enough swagger and charm to enthrall even the largest of crowds.
 
The show opened with the St. Louis-themed “Gateway to Your Heart” (the band is writing a song about each city on their tour), which vocalist James Dean Wells performed solo. As he turned on the frontman charm and drew the crowd closer to the stage, drummer Quinn English and touring keyboardist Mike Abiuso joined him on stage and unleashed their sonic fury in “N.H.D.N” from the band’s debut, Ghosts.
 
From there the group rarely let up musically, pausing between songs to crack jokes and poke fun at a small audience, whose reactions to the banter seemed to waver between blank stares and uneasy laughter. At one point, Wells remarked, “Some people entertain. I creep. Like TLC.” Given the relatively young age of the crowd he added, “Like, six people got that joke.” He then goaded a scarf-clad young man from the audience (whom he dubbed Scarf-Ace) to come up on stage and demonstrate his “creepy breathing technique.” If the music thing doesn’t work out, the band would make a great comedy team.
 
More giggles accompanied the acapella intro to “Dog Day Afternoon,” a psychotic love song whose ballad-y first verse was aborted by Wells when he heard someone in the audience laughing. After asking someone to “punch the offender in the sternum; it won’t hurt that bad,” he started the song over. All in good fun, of course.
 
After closing with an absolutely furious version of the band’s hit “O-Shot” that showcased Wells’ credible freestyle rap chops, the band was greeted with an abruptly illuminated room. It’s too bad we didn’t get to hear an encore, because I have a feeling the next time they roll through town they will be playing much less intimate venues. | Corey Woodruff

 

 
 
Corey Woodruff’s shots from the show:
 
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