AMERICAN ANALOG SET, VIA SATELLITE, THE MEETING PLACES
Thursday, Nov. 3 The bands Thursday night at Plush got progressively better: First was The Meeting Places, from Los Angeles, whose songs were mostly droning and used too many effects to mask the lack of anything remotely interesting about them. Next was Via Satellite, whose electronically enhanced songs were slightly more attention-grabbing (and better-executed). Headlining the bill was Austin's American Analog Set, whose songs are not too quiet, not too loud, and work off of interesting drum rhythms, bass, vibraphone, organs and singer/songwriter Andrew Kenney's slow-strummed guitar.
Right before American Analog Set left for their current tour, they announced that this tour would be their last, because they were tired of touring. Said Kenny on American Analog Set's Web site, "We may play again here and there, but this is the last time we will get INTO a van in August and get OUT of the van in December." They didn't seem tired at all Thursday night, though; before the band even started, drummer Mark Smith was already working out rhythms, and organ/electric piano player Craig McCaffrey was warming up the keys. Kenney hopped on stage, hooked up his pedals, strapped on his guitar and began playing "Fuck This ... I'm Leaving" from their new record, Set Free. Only one song in, and the band was already showing their sense of humor. Two songs in, and Kenney started laughing after looking at the set list--apparently, they write their set lists in anagrams, "to keep things interesting," and he couldn't figure out the next song.
They played "Cool Kids Keep" and "Immaculate Heart, Pt. 1," as well as its sequel, all from Set Free, along with "The Postman," from 2001's Know by Heart, and "Come Home Baby Julie, Come Home" from 2003's Promise of Love. Vibraphonist Sean Ripple danced in his new-looking white sneakers and shook maracas, and Kenney swayed with eyes closed as the band delved into their looping melodies and rhythm structures. They had to bring an extra guy on stage to shake a tambourine on a few songs, and joked about asking random people to come on stage and shake things. The warm organs, the cool vibraphone, the reverbed guitar and the band's sense of humor blended the songs into relaxing and sonically soothing music that had an invigorating effect; it's too bad the effect isn't enough for American Analog Set to want to continue to tour.