Sundowner, The Sidekicks @ Subterranean on August 21, 2010

Posted: August 22, 2010 in Show Review

I don’t think I’ve been to a show this early in a while. There were four bands playing this show and I got there 15 minutes before the first band even went on.

This is This

I had never heard of this guy before but I guess he was roommates with Chris back in college. He played a acoustic guitar while singing some ridiculous lyrics. I remember one song made a reference to Dillinger Four so I approve of that. At times, he was reminiscent of the Mountain Goats. It wasn’t the greatest performance but it was more than satisfactory for the first of the night.

American War

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from these guys live. In my mind, this was just the side-project of the guy from the Sidekicks. I had heard a few songs before and it was ok. These guys were a lot poppier than I remember. I’d probably label it jangle pop. It was very good. Probably my second favorite performance of the night.

The Sidekicks

I had been wanting to see the Sidekicks for a very long time. I think I lost my opportunity to really enjoy them though. I was very disappointed by this performance. I got into the Sidekicks because I liked their straight ahead punk songs. I guess those songs have become their “old songs” because they barely played any of them. I don’t think I’ll being see this band again anytime soon. I am not sure what direction this band is trying to go in now but it’s not what caught my attention to begin with. Oh well.


This was my third time seeing Sundowner and the first since the release of the second album. It was a great performance. This performance was very different from the other times I saw him because he was playing with Neil on bass and another guitarist playing electric. Also for a handful of songs he had someone on steel guitar.  This was also the longest performance of his that I’ve seen. I think he played for around 70 minutes. He stuck entirely to his two albums, which now provide him with more than enough material for a full set. He started off the performance at around 11:35  with “Endless Miles.” He slowed it down slightly, which he tends to do live. I really like that he changes up the songs live, it really makes the show unique. I think he played “Whales and Sharks” next. Not sure what the exact order was but then he played “This War is Noise”, “Araby”, “Steal Your Words”, and “In The Flicker”

I was trying to gauge how familiar people were with the new songs. It’s kind of funny because I pre-ordered the album, I’ve been listening to it for about a month but the show was billed as his record release. The crowd definitely wasn’t as familiar with the newer stuff but I could still hear people singing along. In the middle I remember him playing “Jackson Underground”, “Jewel of The Midwest”, “Sea of Lights” and “100 Resolutions.” Towards the end he played “As The Crow Flies”, “Your Self Portrait”, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon”, “Mouth of a Tiger” and “Beadie Said”. “Beadie Said” is of course a reference to the Wire, which Chris alluded to when he dedicated the song to characters from the show.

There was no encore. He ended the performance around 12:40 with “Midsummer Classic.” He played the song really soft to start but by the end it got pretty intense, especially with all the crowd singing along. No doubt this was the best Sundowner performance I’ve seen. I cannot wait to see him again.


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