Monday, August 06, 2007

A night at Molly Malone's

Last night Jacki and I went to Molly Malone's to see Smug. We first heard about Smug because their guitarist Rick Musallam plays with Mike Keneally, and held double duty playing both with Smug and later in the night with Mike's band.

As their debut cd was approaching release Jacki befriended their singer/bass player Bret Helm via email. She was looking forward to meeting him since their cd had finally been release. We walked in and saw him standing near the back of the room, went over introduced ourselves, and were able to talk for a few minutes before the next band started.

He stated he wished the album had come out sooner and plans to have a new Smug disc out before the end of the year. His description of the new music was interesting. He described that instead of the sound going more outward, it would instead be a more focused forward sound, and more lo-fi. He said think White Stripes and Beck. At least it made sense when he was telling us about it.

The first band we saw was Loop!Station. A female singer, a cello player and a bunch of loops recorded in real time as part of the performance. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, the creation of loops on the cello isn't something you see everyday, but after about 20 minutes of their set I was ready to see what we had come for. They had a good response from the audience and seemed to have brought the biggest crowd.

Unfortunately after their set the crowd thinned significantly. At one point during Smug's show Bret made the comment about how he thinks there are more people in the audience than on stage.

The other times we've seen Smug they came off more as an indie rock heavily influenced by punk. Tonight their set was less punk and included some elements of improvisation with extended jams during several of the songs.

Their set was awkward at times with silence between songs, although about half way through their set they loosened up and were able to allow for some of the extended jams to breathe. But just as they got going their 45-50 minute set was over.

Highlights included a great impromptu bass performance of Happy Birthday by Bret. What Jimi Hendrix did for the Star Spangled Banner, Bret did for Happy Birthday. During one of the awkward moments of silence someone suggested the band sing Happy Birthday while waiting for Rick to re-tune his guitar.

Other highlights included Jacki's favorite 3 States, It's Me and Most Of All. Check out the pic of Bret using the mic stand for slide bass!

August 5, 2007
Molly Malone's
Los Angeles, CA

Short Jam (Instrumental) ->
Graham & Liz
Passing You By
(Happy Birthday - Bret on bass)
3 States 6 Days 1200 Miles
Shoulda Wrote A Ballad
It's Me
Most Of All
Passin You By

More photos available at

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