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Sunset Rubdown – Live @ Empty Bottle

Date November 6, 2007

I’ve wondered for quite a while what Sunset Rubdown would sound like live. There’s that rawness and urgency to their music that the band portrays fantastically live, but there’s also an attention to detail in the instrumentation that’s hard to pull off in a live setting. Overall, the intensity of the songs, which were keyboard-heavy, stripped down, and even more raw than on record won out, and made for a really awesome show, even if I missed some of the denser sounds from the albums.

The opener for the night was a Chicago band called We Will Eat Rats to Survive. They were young and energetic and their drummer looked a lot like this girl from the old Disney Channel original movies. She was really good though as was the rest of the band. They had some very catchy tunes that ranged somewhere between avant-folk and Modest Mouse. They also offered to upload their album for free to anyone with an iPod, which is a classy move.

Spencer Krug and co. took the stage about a half hour late because they missed their soundcheck, but no one held it against them, especially when they opened two of their best songs Shut Up I Am Dreaming followed by two of my favorites from Random Spirit Lover. The title track from the prior album was a bit of a disappointed live as it didn’t have the power that it does on record, but “Us Ones In Between” and “Taming of the Hands” both improved on their recorded versions.

“Up on Your Leopard” focused even more on keyboards in the live version with Spencer, Camilla (keyboards/xylophone), and Jordan (drums) all playing at various parts in the song. It definitely reinforced the song as my favorite on the new album. In between songs the band dug themselves a bit of a hole when Camilla said that they usually have bad luck in Chicago, and the crowd demanded to know why. Spencer tried to fix the situation by saying that he loved Chicago and there was some words between the band on whether he actually did or not. Finally, he said that they sucked at talking and should just play, to which we all agreed.

Sunset Rubdown then proceeded to play a brand new song, which I was told is called “Icarus”. I’m always a bit unsure of hearing new songs live, but this was was quite good and actually turned out to be one of the highlights of the set. The drumming killed on the song. Interesting note: Every member of the band at one point played some sort of drums at one point in the set, while also playing there regular instruments. Awesome.

The band played a couple of lesser favorites before doing a drastically different version of “Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot! Toot!”. The keyboards are put front and center instead of hidden under layers of guitar like in the recording. Watching Spencer play keys on this song up close was absolutely thrilling. The band ended the set with a very loud and epic version of “Stadiums and Shrines”. Spencer decided not to leave the stage and return for the encore and instead chatted a little before playing what was the obvious crowd favorite “Empty Threats of Little Lord”. Everyone sang along to the “You Snake” part at the end, and then it was all over. Well done, my Canadian friends.

MP3 Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days
MP3 Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot! Toot!

View the rest of my pictures from the night as well as the setlist at Pictures For Kids Who Can’t Read Good.


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3 Responses to “Sunset Rubdown – Live @ Empty Bottle”


  1. Anonymous said:

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  2. mjrc said:

    not sure what that first comment is about, but i love your review. i saw them awhile back and i have to agree that they are awesome.

  3. nobody said:

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