Live Review: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s at the Troubadour May 18, 2009

While it’s difficult to justify dedicating more Music Zeitgeist pixels to Indianapolis’ Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s so soon, when they played Monday night at the Troubadour, it was almost one year to the day from when they inspired the first-ever Truffle Jones MZ post.  As occasions of serendipity go, it would have been irresponsible to forgo taking advantage of the event.

Animal! Richard Edwards swings for the fences at the Troubadour (photo by the author).

Animal! Richard Edwards swings for the fences at the Troubadour (photo by the author).

When we last reported on them, Margot was heading to the Troubadour on the day of the simultaneous release of their new major-label albums, Animal! and Not Animal —  Animal! being the band’s preferred collection of songs while Not Animal represented what Epic Records considered to be a reasonable, commercially viable means of recouping the advance money they dispensed to Margot upon signing them.

Perhaps it was the draining effect of their David vs. Goliath-like battle with the label, but while bandleader Richard Edwards and the rest of Margot performed admirably that night, they weren’t quite firing on all cylinders.

On Monday night, however, the band turned in a positively sizzling set, free of whatever dark cloud might have been responsible for tainting their performance well during their last L.A. visit.  Newer numbers from Animal! such as “Hello Vagina,” “My Baby (Shoots Her Mouth Off)” and “Mariel’s Brazen Overture” (clearly an Edward’s favorite) rubbed elbows quite amiably with stalwarts like “Skeleton Key,” “Vampires In Blue Dresses,” “Quiet As A Mouse” and “On A Freezing Chicago Street.”

Also Animal! Casey Tennis emits a healthy Three Mile Island glow at his percussion tree (photo by the author).

Also Animal! Casey Tennis emits a healthy Three Mile Island glow at his percussion tree (photo by the author).

By the time the band wound down the main set with the inevitable clap-and-stomp along of “Tall As Cliffs” (which started with percussionist/purveyor of weird miscellany Casey Tennis banging an empty five-gallon water drum in the balcony section of the Troub), the room was alight with adoration.

Perhaps because of Animal!’s limited availability (it’s only available on vinyl), Not Animal has outsold the band’s baby by a ratio of over three-to-one in terms of physical-only sales.  Additionally, Amazon users and even Pitchfork have rated the label’s version of the record as better overall.  Whether or not this means the cuffs will be on the next time the band records remains to be seen, but it seems that Epic Records could smirk over making a new-model example out of this band for future groups thinking of taking major-label money and ignoring commerce in favor of art.  It’s not difficult to imagine “The Margot Precedent,” as it could come to be known, being used by corporate types in sit-downs with promising new acts for years to come.

Regardless, it’s apparent that months of non-stop touring since the dual album release provided Margot — already prone to extended tours — with the opportunity to polish their newest material.  The result was a fun and heartfelt show for both newly minted devotees and old fans alike, likely none of whom gave a damn which version of the album the songs performed came from.  And if Margot can consistently deliver these kind of performances, they truly will have shed the mantle of being a glorified regional band in favor of being a bona fide national act.  To that band, we wish many happy returns.



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