Southern Man

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Concert Review - Student Film, Euclid Crash, and Smarty Pants

Smarty Pants was a popular local indie-rock band comprised of science nerds; they broke up about five years ago when some of the members moved out of town. They released a handful of albums on a local label but Southern Man first took note from their performance of Has-Been Heroes, a Devo-like tune written for a local UHF channel's fondly-remembered midnight movie show (hosted by Captain Nightowl and the Wonder Kid, with their trusty robot sidekick Socket and their nemesis, the evil Black Haggis). Being a former nerd himself, Southern Man has a soft spot for nerd bands and when he found that all of the Smarty Pants members were back in town to throw a reunion concert, he just had to see the show.

Southern Man knew he'd made the right choice when arrived at the venue (a small club 'way up on the north side of town) and was greeted by a smiling hostess who handed him a free shrinkwrapped "best of" CD. And at the merchandise table it appeared that Smarty Pants was in the process of unloading their remaining goodies - all CDs and LPs were a buck each, so Southern Man was able to acquire most of the Smarty Pants discography and have change back from a five. And the final courtesy were the free foam earplugs for those of us who exceeded our high-volume concert quota decades ago and were keen on retaining what little hearing we had remaining. The demographic that evening was significantly younger than Southern Man; mostly the expected teen- and early-twenties crowd, but with a fair number of older fans. Southern Man found a chair and ended up next to a woman of about his age there to see her daughter sing with the opening act and we had a great time trading stories about the musical aspirations of and various excesses of our teens.

Student Film was that opening act. Southern Man admits that they didn't really hold his interest; "languid rock" is how he might describe their music, but your mileage may vary. Euclid Crash was a considerably more energetic power-pop band and gave us a more musically varied performance. And then the fun began with Smarty Pants, who were clearly there as much to have a good time and see old friends as to play a concert. They did twenty-odd tunes and it is a tribute to their former popularity that a number of fans knew all the words and sang along.

It was a tremendously fun evening that didn't end until the wee hours of the morning (Southern Man backdates his review posts so they reflect the date of the event) and the total outlay (ticket, CDs, and adult beverages) totaled less than it cost to park at U2. Southern Man intends to keep his eye on the local indie scene and enjoy many more evenings like this.


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