The Great American Music Hall is a freakin' great place to see live music. One of the original "it" hotspots in San Francisco during prohibition, the roaring '20s, and at the turn of the century circa the big quake, its ornamentation and history carry a significant amount of nostalgia and glamour.
I was looking at a cherub molded into a pillar during The Rakes set (Sunday, July 16), wondering if someone before me had also simulated the same actions, all while drinking a beer. I can only wonder.
The UK imports put on a solid performance, despite the crowd numbers being a little scant. Thankfully their light show didn't give me a seizure (take note, Arctic Monkeys), and lead singer Alan Donohoe danced like a robot, leaped from drum kits, and cracked jokes about warehouse parties during the band's hour-long performance. Also having read recently that Donohoe was apparently once warned by riot police about participating in PETA's Running of the Nudes (he was...nude), he started to become my new hero during the night. Impressive, I will say.
Material was mainly based off the band's debut album, Capture/Release, a guitar-fueled and clever lyric-filled record about being animals and taking mediocre positions for work. The band dashed though "Retreat," "22 Grand Job," and my personal favorite, "Work Work Work (Pub Club Sleep)." A few tunes were dedicated to the single people, in particular "the ladies." One of the dudes from Every Move A Picture - label mates and current touring companions - came on stage at one point to play tambourine and spasm dance. My belly and its four beers deeply appreciated the moment.
Their stage energy was fun, but something felt missing. Possibly a lack of interest (few people dancing or bobbing their heads), or maybe Sunday night blues of being the last day in the weekend cluster, the show could have been more engaging on the crowd's behalf. The first time I witnessed the Rakes, their set needed a little fine tuning. This second time, the crowd. Hopefully the third time's a charm, and when these kids pass through the city they will have garnered more attention for their craft.
by Jenn Hernandez