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w/King Elementary, Marjorie Fair
Blueberry Hill, St. Louis, August 4, 2005

Considering the bit of mainstream success 22-20s have enjoyed over the last nine months, it was a surprise to find the small venue a bit empty. With a raucous debut album full of blues riffs, the expectation was that their blistering tunes would translate well to a live setting.

Co-openers King Elementary put on a show that was a revelation. Made up of four teenagers from Mississippi, the band sounded like they’ve been doing this for some time. Their live show was explosive, despite the diminutive crowd.

Marjorie Fair, while seemingly out of place with a melancholy sound sandwiched between two garage-rock bands, was impressive. With incredible background keyboards and guitars, their songs are homage to ’70s northern California. They have an impressive live presence and an ambitious sound.

22-20s quickly took the stage, powering through their opening couple of numbers at warp speed. As a live outfit, the band is nothing if not efficient; their set is water tight. Unfortunately, while at first their raucous sound appeared impressive, later on it was a struggle to stay interested, save for a small group of frat guys standing front and center.

The band scorched through covers, new songs, and about half of their self-titled debut album. Unfortunately, from “Shoot Your Gun” to “Such a Fool” to “I’m the One,” every song was basically reproduced note-for-note to match the album versions. Can I get some improvisation?

22-20s’ debut album is raw and aggressive. Lead singer Martin Trimble has a forceful voice, and instrumentally the band has it together. Their live show just doesn’t pack the same punch.

Overall, the evening was highlighted by the openers, especially King Elementary, who look to be on the rise.

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