It was a show for the ages. The Morning Benders, with their new album, Big Echo, in tow, teamed up with their friends The Mumlers for a sonic feast.
Things kicked off early with The Mumlers taking the stage shortly after 8pm. I was upset with myself for missing their set during Noise Pop so I owed it to myself to make sure I was at this show. The Independent is a great venue, a personal favorite of mine, and was the largest one I’ve seen the guys play to date.
Treating us loyal fans well, they played through several of their better known songs including “Red River Hustle,” “Shake Your Medication,” “Don’t Throw Me Away,” and instead of closing with “Coffin Factory” per the usual, ended on “Don’t Throw Me Away.” By the middle of their set, The Mumlers had a pretty packed floor, and cheers before, in the middle, and after every song. One thing that always blows me away is their musicianship – at one point, multi-instrumentalist and hype man Felix was playing tambourine with one hand, baritone with the other, and then he would set the horn down to play some keys just to pick the brass up seconds later.
Miniature Tiger was the only non-Bay Area band on the bill, hailing from Brooklyn. They brought a fatter low end that got the floor shaking a bit, and complimented it with some fun toy piano styles on synth. Just as The Mumlers would swap instruments, Miniature Tiger’s synth/keys guy and drummer swapped instruments midway through the set. The best part is that it wasn’t a gimmick – they stuck to the new roles for a few songs.
They also played the crowd quite well, getting everybody going on the clap (not the STD, but rather the act of slapping one’s hands together to create a percussive effect). They also brought in some extra color with a rainstick for a track which was que ridiculo awesome.
The Morning Benders closed out the evening bringing their Cali-bred pop, inducing smiles and good vibes despite the rain outside. I used to have this conception that the Benders’ sound was a little thin, but really proved me wrong at the Indie with such a rich, calming sound.
I was excited to hear their two newest singles from Big Echo, “Promises” and especially “Excuses.” I saw John Vanderslice upstairs and talked with him for a minute, so I kept my fingers crossed that he may appear onstage for “Excuses” (being that he was in the Yours Truly music video). JV didn’t make it up for the closer, but the stage was packed left to right and front to back with a final count of somewhere between 10 and 13 musicians, including Miniature Tigers.