Communist Daughter | 12.13.12

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communist 75The next time they come to town, I would like it even better if the venue were full to bursting.

 

Cicero’s, St. Louis

Thursday night’s show at Cicero’s was an odd bird. It started off a little off for me personally, because usually I am one of those folks who’s there when the doors open. I like to get in there, get my beverage of choice, and stake a claim to some real estate. Unfortunately, I was delayed as one can only be delayed by a four-year-old and a husband stuck in an I-70 commute. I missed most of the opening act, Bluefish. I did catch a more than decent cover of The Killers, “All These Things That I’ve Done,” and a couple of originals that piqued my interest enough to definitely try to catch them again.

Second onstage was Bow Tie Trio, a pleasant surprise of the evening. This trio out of Lake St. Louis offered up some jazzy, Jason Mraz-y, upbeat tunes as well as the funny line of the night: “I restrung my guitar for this. Which, pretty ladies, is the equivalent of shaving your legs.” The lead vocals were strong, and although the members are young, their playing was mature and their stage presence memorable. They are a jammin’ little band.

The Madison Letter, while not at all my cup of tea, absolutely knows how to whip their fans into a frenzy. Surrounded by 14- to 18-year-olds and flanked by some watchful parents, I have to say I felt a little out of place, what with my considerable life experience, smile/frown lines, glass of booze, and ability to vote. The girly squeals and bro-love were in full effect, with one bro even exposing his chest to the band pre-performance as a gesture of good faith and his belief in their awesomeness, I suppose. As for the music, they out One Directioned, One Direction. I say that not as a slam, only as a descriptor. Again, this may not be what I am into, but I was seriously outvoted by the crowd.

If you read my preview, you know that the reason why I was there that night was for Communist Daughter. Unfortunately, only a handful of us were there for that same reason. Ninety percent of the room had to leave to make it home for bedtime on a school night. Factor in that it’s mid-December (St. Louis, you know how you get about going out in December) and that the band was only added to the lineup a short time ago and it made for a pretty disappointing turnout.

That said, the members of the band were absolutely charming and lovely about it all. It was kind of like Darren Snow (KDHX) and I, along with a few others, got to have our own private concert. The group could have easily just treated it like a band practice or blown through a couple of songs and called it a night, but they did not. They gave us a tour of the new EP out this year, Lions & Lambs, and a generous number of older songs from Soundtrack to the End, including one of my personal favorites “Not the Kid.”

It was also fantastic to get to spend a little time with the band afterward (yes, I got to deliver those hugs I mentioned in the preview) and chat with them about touring with Jason Isbell and about their songwriting. John Solomon talked a bit about how he tries to avoid writing as a “persona” but from a place that’s authentic. This led to a lengthy conversation about how that doesn’t mean every song is autobiographical, but that even if the scenario within the song isn’t about you personally, you always have to imbue the song with how you would approach or handle that situation.

It was pretty fantastic to get to have that kind of one-on-one time with a band that I admire so much. However, the next time they come to town, I would like it even better if the venue were full to bursting. Communist Daughter will be in the studio in January working on a new full-length album. When they tour to support it, I hope more of us show up to support them. | Janet Rhoads

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