The Mary Onettes | 05.14.08

live_mary-onettes.jpgThe strongest song of the night—and off their self-titled debut album—was "Void," a catchy, high-energy number that translated well to the stage.

 

 

 

w/Chapters
The Bluebird, St. Louis

The thin crowd (perhaps 40 deep; it was, after all, the same night as Radiohead) patiently waited for Sweden’s Mary Onettes to set up and take the stage. After a false start ("I can’t sing on this microphone," proclaimed the singer, cutting off mid-song. "Electricity."), the Mary Onettes got underway and delivered their take on ’80s music. Drawing influences from Modern English, New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Jesus & Mary Chain, they were technically savvy if a bit derivative. Comparisons to fellow Swedes Shout Out Louds weren’t far-fetched, either, especially as both groups’ sole female member is relegated to keyboards.

The strongest song of the night—and off their self-titled debut album—was "Void," a catchy, high-energy number that translated well to the stage. Afterward, it seemed, the crowd was a bit more receptive, the band perhaps slightly more relaxed. Following a short set (perhaps eight songs, including a one-song encore) and an plea—"Buy t-shirts!"—the elusive Swedish quintet was gone, the 40 of us left to disperse into the night.

Admittedly, the bar was set high by opening act Chapters, whose slightly sinister, deviant and depraved lyrics fit perfectly with the Joy Division-meets-Psychedelic Furs dark dance music. Chapters’ songs draw on recurrent themes of sex tapes and trust, legs spread and dark rooms down the hall. Controversial yet utterly captivating stuff.

Performance-wise, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from frontman Vincent Marks and his herky-jerk dancing; he pulls at his tie like it’s a noose, grips the mic stand like he’s strangling it. His eyes recall a hunted (hungry?) animal; there’s a look of fear, like he’s afraid of getting caught.

It would be remiss here to not mention the band. Each of the three musicians delivers pristine performances, lending perfectly talented sounds to the songs. Two from the end, before the new song, Vincent pulled a new tie from a bag (he’d cut off the original one with a pair of shears) and quickly knotted it around his neck, saying "Don’t be an asshole and tie it the easy way; no one will give you a job." | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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