The Acorn @ Exit/In 4/29/08

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

For their show at the Exit/In, the Acorn failed to ring the chimes of hype that usually summon Nashvillians to indie shows. This is not condemnable, but worth pointing out since Paper Bag Records signed the band last year, home to seasoned indies (and recent Nashville tickets) Broken Social Scene and Stars.For their show at the Exit/In, the Acorn failed to ring the chimes of hype that usually summon Nashvillians to indie shows. This is not condemnable, but worth pointing out since Paper Bag Records signed the band last year, home to seasoned indies (and recent Nashville tickets) Broken Social Scene and Stars.

Lacking the mystery and intimations of inner-turmoil with which their fellow Canucks have garnered appeal, a majority of the set involved band member’s acting out intense moments of clarity and self-realizations. Two times, separate members stared intensely at the ceiling mid-song: shoe-gazing’s evil twin. In this sense, the band was self-assured and boring.

That said, the Acorn’s set fell into two categories: the first six or so songs and the final three. The first six resembled the sound of Cardinals-era Ryan Adams. Singer Rolf Klausener sang like the starry-eyed, somewhat smarmy Adams whereas the band produced ethereal, reverb soaked stomps that conjured desolation. Rather than a pedal-steel, guitarist Howie Tsui wielded an electronic bow (e-bo), which-in place of a pick-creates a sound like a bow would on a classical string instrument, generating an unsyncopated note that swells any empty sonic space in the song.

Salvaging the night were the final three songs “Crooked Legs,” “Low Gravity” and “Flood Part 1,” also the three songs on their MySpace page. The Acorn saved them for last-as have I-since they suggest genuine résumé material.

On “Crooked Legs,” Klausener finger picks quickly (dubbed “awkward fingerings” by the band) on a ukulele-the brief riff is reminiscent of Nick Drake’s “Which Will”-and is joined by Tsui’s aforementioned e-bo, plus pots-and-pans drumming by Jeffrey Malecki. “Low Gravity” recycles this approach-a rapid ukulele introduces the song, which is later accompanied by yelps and knocks in the background by errant guitar and typewriter drums, respectively. Here the band finally struck a compelling balance-between little-train-that-could ukulele and Tsui’s tractor trailer screeching-to-a-halt wails-abandoning the cheap real estate of cloud nine.

The last song “Flood Part 1” moved the crowd to dance-appropriate since the first line proclaims you lift your head from wild and wicked sleep-urged by half-second interval clapping. An acoustic riff that could have been on Beck’s Odelay anchors the song.

The band’s latest album Glory Hope Mountain (largely written about Klausener’s Honduras-born, deceased mother) contains all three of these songs, which-in homage to the departed-are peppered with Latin American components (a stick against a soda bottle, island high-notes, calypso guitar melodies). Best of luck to the Acorn; may they mourn temporarily and perhaps forge their identity as a distinctive indie rock band in the process.

Leave a Reply

4/30/08 Jay Reatard @ Mercy Lounge, Nashville, Tenn.

Fender Unveils Secret Weapon