Friday, March 30, 2012

Concert Review: The Modern Art Tour in Cleveland, Ohio

It’s always a pleasure to see multiple bands I enjoy in the same setting, so I was excited to learn that SPEAK would be an opening act for Miniature Tigers during the local leg of the Modern Art Tour. Also performing were The Chain Gang of 1974 and Geographer.

The venue, Grog Shop, is a small and intimate place, with the stage leading directly into the audience. When we entered the room, SPEAK were still doing their warm-ups. They wrapped up quickly and we were left to wait. All of the bands mingled freely in the crowd, before, during, and after the show.

SPEAK took the stage at just after 8 and performed a crowd-pleasing set for a crowd to which they were mostly unknown. 


The high-energy songs from their album were joined by a couple of songs I didn’t recognize from the album as well as a cover of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” As with the SPEAK covers I've experienced in the past, the band added their own accents to the cover, speeding it up, and making it their own. They closed their set with “Stand By Us” and “Carrie.”

Up next was The Chain Gang of 1974, a group which didn't really sit well with me. Their very 80s synths became tolerable and almost good toward the end of the set, but the vocals and general attitude of the band didn't suit my tastes at all. 

The Chain Gang of 1974

Co-headliner Geographer took the stage and it was immediately clear that many patrons were there to see Geographer specifically. Lead singer Michael Deni performed beautifully, with a voice that was admittedly better than any other singer that evening. Geographer's lineup features drums, synths, and an electric cello (played by Nathan Blaz), which seems an interesting choice for a rock group.


Finally, Miniature Tigers came on around 11 o'clock. Miniature Tigers were quite lively. Lead singer Charlie Brand did a great job of engaging the crowd, competing with several now insanely drunk members of the crowd and the two guys from The Chain Gang of 1974 who were creating a ruckus in the audience. 

Miniature Tigers

 Photos by Gareth Sedam

Miniature Tigers performed most of the songs off of Mia Pharaoh, with a few songs from Fortress and "Cannibal Queen" thrown in. I think the near absence of songs from Tell It To The Volcano was a slight disappointment to some, but the set was impressive just as it was. Miniature Tigers closed their set at just after midnight and hung around to sign autographs and talk to fans. 

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