July 31, 2011

1,2,3 & Viva Brother - Black Cat - July 26, 2011

During the dog days of summer, the small show reigns king.  Take Tuesday's show at Black Cat with 1,2,3 and Viva Brother, a prime illustration (along with last Saturday's Hoots & Hellmouth show) of bands pulling into town and blowing the roofs off these smaller spaces.

1,2,3 and Viva Brother have huge sounds that could've easily filled the mainstage at Black Cat.  In 1,2,3, we find living proof that sometimes the sun does shine in Pittsburgh, at least via the PGH natives' soothing indie synth pop led by frontman Nic Snyder's Ezra Koenig-like falsetto.  In fact, the whole shebang has a very Vampire Weekend/Morning Benders feel to it, in a great way.

Shows in the Black Cat's back room have this raw, living room feel to them, and it was clear from the beginning that the 1,2,3 was facing some set-up snafus.  Then the bass went out almost immediately after the set began.  Yet the band perservered through songs from their new album "New Heaven," one second belting out a bouncing beach tune, the next, crooning in a slower melancholy style.

It's kind of interesting that they're billed a duo, when the two non-billed "bandmates" are so critical to the sound.  Regardless, 1,2,3 held it together through a lovely introductory set. 

And then Viva Brother took the stage, a hodge podge mix of Brits with a tacked on fashion-forward female back-up singer.  The comparisons to Oasis are apt, with lead singer Lee Nowell sounding like Liam immediately upon listen.  And I didn't hate it, despite the misuse of"gritpop" to describe their sound; the only gritty thing about Viva Brother is the unfortunate buzz about them (legally forced name change, status as a big label band, attitude problems).  Dragged through the mud so early...

All in all, a great way to spend a Tuesday.  Keep both of these bands on your radars, and check out their albums which dropped within a month of each other.


  1. Oasis or Beady Eye? Mind you, there's not that much difference is there?

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