Last Night: As Tall As Lions at Culture Room

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As Tall as Lions

July 11, 2007

Culture Room

Better Than: Paying $200 for recycled nostalgia

The Review:

Coordinated in vests & dress pants like they were late to play a VH1 afterparty, As Tall As Lions’ hit the stage at freeway speeds, merging their sounds in and out of the flashing lights of the Culture Room's close quarters. The Long Island-based ATAL is a well toured band, having survived the shakeups of the music business. Their stage presence brings much more out of their music than I'd heard on their self-titled second album. Dan Nigro sings in a unique high vocal range that melds into Saen Fitzgerald's strumming guitar tones. With Julio Tavarez on bass and Cliff Sarcona on drums, they were able to deliver the power shift changes in their songs that gave movement and urgency to a great live performance. Sarcona might be more caveman than the well dressed others, judging by the way he pounded his kit and crashed his symbols. Still, As Tall As Lions are much better and more energetic live than their lullaby album, which could put you to sleep before you get to the good parts. The song, "Love, Love, Love" is a beautiful chorus of humanity as they sing what they feel without letting the words get in the way. "Ghosts of York" has the garage sound of something still forming, sort of like New York's reaction to the British guitar bands of late. It seems that ATAL should do another album and not be so methodical, maybe just record their live show. Their sound is honed and they could easily free themselves from the confines of studio reworkings and capture a night of their performance energy.

Rob Parr accompanied ATAL on piano, occasionally trumpet, and even guitar. A few times, he just sat out songs, when I’d rather he picked up one of the 6 guitars the band changed off and on throughout the set. If we've learned anything from Mogwai, it's that you can never have too many guitars playing. Parr also accompanied the band Cassino for one song during their set. It was the unsigned Cassino that was an unexpected Easter egg on a crowded four band night. Even though they played the second spot on the bill, Cassino played their set like headliners. --Kenneth Scott

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I hate keyboards.

Random Detail: 26% of all statistics are made up.

By The Way: You can’t turn left into Culture Room from US1-North bound any more, you’ll have to make a right coming off of Oakland Park east bound. Driver be aware.

Here's a video of "Ghosts of York" set to cool visuals.

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