Concert Review: Smith Westerns, July 29, Lee’s Palace

smith westerns

Taking to the Lee’s Palace stage promptly at 10:15, Chicago’s Smith Westerns played an enjoyable set full of catchy, jangly, poppy, synth enhanced tunes from their latest, Soft Will, as well as several off of Dye It Blonde to an enthusiastic crowd.

Singer Cullen Omori was fairly talkative between songs, addressing the crowd throughout the night and belting out the songs with his face obscured by his hair. Guitarist Max Kakacek also impressed with a few good guitar solos.

While their set was enjoyable, I would like to devote the bulk of this review to expressing my admiration for the band for falling into the growing camp of “no encore” bands.  All too often, a band will walk off stage while conveniently forgetting to play a big hit or two, while also leaving all of their gear onstage. Whatever could this mean?  Will we see them again?  What could  we possibly do to convince them to play at least one more song?  We must clap to bring them back onstage, as if the band were Tinkerbell and only our applause will keep them alive.  It’s struck me for many years now as a silly charade and so I always appreciate it when a band like Smith Westerns just comes out and says, “We don’t do encores.”

In his review of their February, 2011 concert at the Horseshoe, Ricky noted that the band also eschewed the encore, with Ricky noting at the time that the band were sticking to the old showbiz credo, “leave them wanting more.”  While that show may have seemed a little brief, the band has another full album under their belt this time around and played for about an hour.  To me, this was the perfect amount of time and I was happy to walk away knowing there would be no encore.  However, for those who would prefer to pretend it’s a traditional main set/encore setup, Omori told the crowd that if they wanted to, they could imagine that the band had walked offstage and come back on and that the last two songs would be the encore.  And really, had they actually walked off, the last two songs would have made for a perfect traditional encore.  In a way then, it’s all just a matter of perspective.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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