I might have lost count of how many times I’ve seen Indianapolis band Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s. But I’ve always left feeling satisfied and impressed with the band’s performance. Their show at Circus in Columbus, OH on Wednesday night — the third time they’ve played the venue in the past 18 months — was no different, with the band flexing the muscle of its new lineup and blending songs from Buzzard, the new record released just this week, and their previous output.
Some of the charm of a MNSS live show is undoubtedly lost with the exit of its lone female member, Emily Watkins, and a few other members that made up the original eight-piece that broke through in 2006 with Dust of Retreat and the strong dual-release followup, Animal! / Not Animal in 2008.
But lead singer Richard Edwards, with his emotive croon and heartbreaking/bitter lyrics, has always been the driving force behind the band. And so as they carry on with Edwards, multi-intstrumentalist Erik Kang and bassist Tyler Watkins from the original crew — along with three new members — the tunes benefit from Edwards’ songwriting talent.
The songs from Buzzard sounded much tighter than they did when the band came to Columbus earlier this year. The new stuff is louder and tougher, with more straightforward rock attitude and less chamber-pop brooding than before. But just as the band’s style worked in its previous incarnation, this new feel and sound provide a live show that packs a punch.
Early favorites like “Skeleton Key,” “Quiet As A Mouse” and “Broadripple Is Burning” all made appearances on MNSS’ set list. “New York City Hotel Blues” and “Claws Off,” the first two songs to make the rounds from Buzzard, sounded the tightest in Wednesday’s set.
One of Margot’s new members is keyboardist Cameron McGill, whose band Cameron McGill & What Army opened the show. Their set was enjoyable, and McGill sounds like he has some songwriting chops as well.
The Lonely Forest went on right before MNSS, and they were loud and entertaining. Their EP, which just dropped Sept. 14, is certainly worth checking out. It’s surf/pop rock that’s deeper than one might expect.
All in all, Wednesday’s show was, as stated before, a satisfying event.