After reluctantly leaving early from Richard Hawley's show last night, which I am still sulking about just a bit, I hauled ass over to the Mercury Lounge to catch one of the newest signings to Astralwerks, Small Sins. I rolled into the venue just as Youth Group was finishing up what sounded like an awesome set.
The delay between Youth Group and Small Sins was a bit on the lengthy side. The Canadian indie-electro-pop group had a ton of gear to plug in, which actually had me a tad worried. Remember how you have always been told to never overload a plug outlet or a surge protector? Small Sins threw that warning out the window as the stage was blanketed in a tangled sea of various cables and cords. For just five dudes, they had an awful lot of shit to plug in.
Lead vocalist and bass player Thomas D'Arcy and his fellow bandmates hopped on the Mercury stage around 11:20pm or so, all decked out in matching white undershirts, white pants and white Converse sneakers. I didn't quite get the all-white thing, looking as they just walked off the set of A Clockwork Orange. The band wasted no time launching into material off their forthcoming, self-titled release. I have to give the guys credit for having boundless energy on stage, adding more than enough tambourines, maracas, handclaps and other assorted noises to their tunes.
Their synth-heavy sound could be compared to Grandaddy combined with the smooth pop of Phoenix, thanks to the keyboard skills of Todor Kobakov and Kevin Hilliard. If Hilliard is looking for a nickname, I would suggest Bam Bam. His enthusiasm on stage was definitely entertaining to watch, especially towards the end when he beat the shit out of his keyboard stand with a drumstick. As small pieces of wooden shrapnel starting flying towards guitarist Steve Krecklo, I actually felt a bit worried for his safety. I can already hear Hilliard's mom saying: "Be careful Bam Bam! You could poke an eye out doing that!"
One of my favorites of the evening was "Small Sins/Big Within", during which Krecklo assisted drummer Brent Follett on an extra tom-tom drum, making for a really cool drum machine effect. Small Sins' four part harmonies were dead on, filling in the group's sparse instrumentation on the catchy single in the making, "Stay."
By midnight, the group wrapped up their forty-minute set. This was a cool sneak-peek at this up-and-coming band, who you might remember as The Ladies And Gentlemen. Now known as Small Sins, their self-titled album will hit stores on June 13. For fans of keyboard flavored pop tunes, keep this quintet on your radar.