Immaculate Machine @ Biltmore Cabaret -- 03/19/10

Ok, I've gotta complain about the Biltmore here for a moment. I think it is a great venue to see a show, but where there are severely lacking is in time management and consistency. On their site, they had doors at 8, show at 9:30. But 9:30 rolls around, and nothing. Then 10. Then finally at 10:30 the first band goes on. The first band of three, mind you.
When they have Glory Days and want to kick everyone out, they have no problem making a show run smoothly and on time, but this just seemed like they were trying to milk money out of everyone there by keeping us as long as possible so people would buy more drinks (jokes on them, I just had free water!).

So for full disclosure, I was kind of tired by the time the first band came on (up at 630 with six hours of sleep will do that), and I fully admit it may have effected my enjoyment of the opening acts. The first of which was A Pale Blue. They hit the stage at 10:30, but there was a bit of stalling for a while after the curtains opened. Their sound was kind folky-country, but maybe a little too much on the country side. The set was half an hour, but seemed quite a bit shorter, since there seemed to be quite a bit of them standing around for no apparent reason... They were not bad by any means, but just not really anything that held my attention.

Then coming on at 11:30 was Sun Wizards, a great band name. Their set, too, was pretty short, but definitely more up tempo. They had some catchy songs, but it seemed a little bit too much like one catchy song played with slight variations over and over. The vocals were also really indistinguishable; I think the lead singer somehow managed to mumble and yell simultaneously... Again, they were not bad, and I might be interested in seeing them open for someone again, but I probably wouldn't go see a show for just them.

Both bands sets kind of blended together (within themselves, not with each other), and again, my general fatigue probably played a factor, so I am not counting either one of them out. But neither one particularly gave a good enough first impression to get through my tired eyes.

And finally, FINALLY, hitting the stage at 12:30 was Immaculate Machine. Last time I saw them I was quite disappointed by Kathryn Calder not being at the show, but this show more than made up for it. I am not sure if she has fully left the band, or is just more of a part time member now (with her being in New Pornos and her upcoming solo album), but I was reminded so much of why I love the band. That's not to take away from Brooke Gallupe, as he is also an excellent musician, but Immaculate Machine without Kathryn is like Stars without Amy Millan, or Black Mountain without Amy Weber. Yes, Campbell, McBean and Gallupe are all more than capable of fronting their respective bands on their own, but it would just be weird. It was only three songs in, with "C'mon Sea Legs" and "Dear Confessor" (one of my favourites) back to back, when I realized how much of an impact Calder made.
That was just reaffirmed throughout the night, especially when they played some of their older songs like "Broken Ship" and "Jarhand". And of course the newer ones were great too, with "Sound the Alarms" and "Neighbours Don't Mind" both being incredibly high energy and rocking. Spanning songs off their last three albums (their first, Transporter, got no love) and throwing in a their usual cover song, this time "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac (they've played a different cover every time I've seen them live, and that is just another reason I love the band so much) this was probably the best I've seen them play. They were all on top of their game, and it's kind of interesting to see how they've grown since the first time I saw them four years ago.
They played for about an hour or so before "leaving" and coming back for just one more and taking off for good. Which I didn't mind too much, since it was already after 1:30 at that point. I may have managed to be alert for their entire set, but I don't know how much longer I would have lasted. There was also a cool piece of merch I picked up, a collected edition of the various comics Brooke has done over the years. Some can be viewed here at their website but there are more in the book. For only $5 it was definitely worth it.

While the poor time management may have put me off the show "earlier" in the night, it was more than worth it to see the excellent set from Immaculate Machine.

Only Love You For Your Car, Don't Build the Bridge, C'mon Sea Legs, Dear Confessor, You Destroyer, Thank Me Later, Sound the Alarms, Phone No., Broken Ship, He's a Biter, So Cynical, Jarhand, The Chain (Fleetwood Mac cover), No Suck Thing As The Future, Neighbours Don't Mind. (encore) Nothing Ever Happens.