UME + This City of Takers @ The Firebird 3/23
March 24, 2014
It’s 2014. Is carbon fiber more bad-ass than metal? Asking for a friend.
Austin’s UME achieved high honors on a Sunday night at The Firebird: audience members threw devil horns! Granted, my show going trends toward mellow/sad bastard/chamber pop, but I’ve been to some loud shows and yet, I’ve never before noticed anyone spontaneously, unironically and enthusiastically throwing horns at a club show. I know, sucks to be me, but at least I have this one.
Ume barreled through the first few songs, drawing heavily from their new album, Monuments, whirling and thrashing, but then they slooooowed it way down. When the first strains of “Hurricane” ( from 2005’s debut album, Urgent Sea) started, a couple who’d been sitting on a bench hooted, jumped up and ran toward the stage. The Karen O-ey shoe-gaze-y goodness was raw and bloody. And the lyrics!
like a hurricane
please stay safe in my eye
when I pull you like the tides
closer and then far far out
oh I proclaim
hurts the same
Oof! The first pair of devil horns were thrown, and the dude throwin’ didn’t stop drinking his beer as his hand went up.
This is Ume’s third pass through St. Louis (first two times for LouFest in 2011 and then a show at the Firebird three months later, unfortunately during the world series) [CORRECTION: UME has also played Cicero's, Euclid Records, Firebird in 2013 with ...Trail of the Dead, Pops with Foals and Cage the Elephant, and Vintage Vinyl in store on this Sunday afternoon. Wow, when I'm wrong, I'm really wrong! Thanks to Jim Utz in the comments!]. In its pop rockier moments, they are way more Cardigans or Metric than Evanescence, and when they are crawling through the trenches of hard rock and soft metal, it is singular bliss.
Ume performed a Sunday night baptism of lady-fronted cock rock: guitar wailing, hair banging heavy metal moves, and a completely bitchin’ drummer. Their short, no-encore set was timed just right to wrap up by 10:30 so revelers would still be fresh for Monday morning’s grind.
Local openers This City of Takers took the stage promptly at eight and set the tone for the night with their jangly indie rock (and some light metal moves of their own). Do yourself a solid and download their Bandcamp album, because they are entirely worthy. I’d never heard (of) them before last night, but I look forward to catching them again.
Aside: I had a little bit of nervousness about this show going into it. After watching Marnie Stern get all kinds of weird catcalling and inappropriate comments, I was steeling myself for more of the same. Between the opener and Ume, three of the seven people on stage last night were women. Maybe it was because of the small crowd (harder to blame your creepiness on someone else that way), but no objectifying weirdness happened at all. It was refreshing and restorative and I’m not taking it for granted.