The Clientele/Field Music @ Lincoln Hall 3/17/10

The Clientele headlined last night at Lincoln Hall with a set that spanned the band’s ten year output.   Self-deprecating frontman Alasdair MacLean opened with a Happy St. Patrick’s Day greeting and pointing out that in his opinion, The Clientele has yet to play a good set in Chicago.  This perhaps was not a good omen.  Throughout the night MacLean tried to keep things upbeat saying, “This is a happy one” or “This should get your feet moving,” as he did prior to ‘I Wonder Who We Are,’ a standout from their current record Bonfires On The Heath.  I’m not sure MacLean and company succeeded on this night either.  I admit I am a diehard fan so I was pleased, however the 65-minute set lulled and tended to be a bit flat as the wispy allure of the band got a bit tiresome.

Early on there was an injection of adrenaline to the set as Pat Sansone of Wilco/Autumn Defense joined The Clientele onstage to pay homage to the death of Alex Chilton playing the Big Star track ‘Nighttime.’  Sansone stuck around playing both acoustic guitar, keys and lending backing vocals on ‘Here Comes The Phantom’ freeing up Mel Draisey to play violin.  Sansone’s brief appearance was a welcome touch since MacLean and blonde beauty Draisey were the only ones onstage showing much life.  The Clientele’s rhythm section while solid, were ultimately nondescript.  I think both guys should be celebrated, but stage presence is not their strong suit.  Truth be told, the limp crowd didn’t give the musicians much in the way of energy to feed off of.  So sadly I would have to say listening to The Clientele on record may well surpass the experience of seeing them live, having also seen them in 2007 at Subterranean.

The Clientele @ Lincoln Hall 3/17/10 Setlist
Since K Got Over Me
We Could Walk Together
Nighttime [Big Star cover]
Bonfires On The Heath
Here Comes The Phantom
Never Anyone But You
I Hope I Know You
I Wonder Who We Are
Harvest Time
Lamplight
My Own Face Inside The Trees
Saturday
I Know I’ll See Your Face
Reflections After Jane
The Garden At Night

Immediately preceding The Clientele was another UK outfit, Field Music who hail from Sunderland in England.  They recently released an ambitious 20 song record entitled Field Music (Measure).  Their set pulled heavily from this record as well from the superb Tones of Town.  Brothers David and Peter Brewis traded turns on guitar and drums as well as lead vocals.  The highlight was ‘Effortlessly’ with its meat and potatoes guitar riff.  At times the vocal interplay of Field Music bears an eerie resemblance to that of Queen.  Their set was slightly compromised by a faulty snare drum that was described onstage as sounding “shite” and “like a baseball bat hitting a sock.”  I found it to sound like someone banging on a hollow cardboard box, but nevermind, bringing it to the crowd’s attention may not have been a shining moment on their part.  I was pleasantly surprised by Field Music’s performance as a whole.  And after two visits to Lincoln Hall, I must say, the place is a beauty.  It is both intimate and blessed with a high ceiling.  A band being booked there makes me more likely to attend, so bravo to the brothers Schuba.

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