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As Tall As Lions with Dear and the Headlights, Band Marino and Madelyn - Culture Room, Ft. Lauderdale - March 27, 2009

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Review by Diana M. Galban
Photos by Julia Cox

       As one of the two hottest Ft. Lauderdale venues, Culture Room has housed many great shows. The line up of Band Marino, Dear and the Headlights and As Tall As Lions promised to continue the venue’s reputation.

       A surprising music guest, Madelyn, opened the show. "Anyone needs tips on how to train your Pokemons? I'm your guy!" said front man Jack as the drummer hit the snare and the band belted out their pop-punk tune. At this point of the show, the very empty venue seemed to wish he'd spent more time practicing rather than training fictional Pokemons.

Band Marino
Band Marino

       Familiar faces began to take the stage. Band Marino — who had saved my night earlier after a guest list mix-up — began to play. Singer Nathan Bond whispered into the microphone, "We're going to start with a little mellow tune, let your souls experience spiritual upheaval." My soul was ready. As he continued to sing softly, colored lights created a mystical ambience in the room, something like being lost in a magical forest. As the audience clapped along the rhythmic conga, Band Marino swiftly played the circus folk "Arlee Hayes."

Ian Metzger of Dear and the Headlights
Ian Metzger of Dear and the Headlights

       The whole band was styled as if they had just popped out of The Great Gatsby. "I want you guys to get rowdy with this song, it's kind of wild," Bond said, adjusting the buttons on his coat—the trumpets kick-started, "The Layman's Lament," which lead the band into a skit. Bond kneeled down in front of the mic stand, covered in a black cloth, as Chris Adams (mostly known as "The Mysterious Stranger") came onto the stage in a green sequined dress, blonde wig and an umbrella. As the mystifying "lady" exchanged a brief kiss under the umbrella with Jesse Adams (guitarist), the drums boomed faster and the trumpets created the scenario of a Spanish bull fight. The Mysterious Stranger then came from under his umbrella and shot both his "lover" as well as Abraham Couch, the bassist. Bond yelled "HEY!" and the music resumed.

       Afterwards, Band Marino asked the audience to "grab the most attractive person in the room and try to dance with them," turning the room into a wild folk party with "Chasing Rainbows."

Singer Nathan Bond whispered into the microphone, "We're going to start with a little mellow tune, let your souls experience spiritual upheaval." My soul was ready.

Julio Tavarez, bassist for As Tall As Lions
Julio Tavarez, bassist for As Tall As Lions

       "We're Dear and the Headlights and we're from Arizona," Ian Metzger said in his soft voice. I’ve seen this band before; but the tall, lean figure I saw was not the one I remembered from a year ago. With his new cowboy Clark Kent look, Metzger sang the song, "I'm Not Crying. You're Not Crying, Are You?" The band played an equal number of tracks from their two releases, including "Talk About" off their latest album Drunk Like Bible Times. Metzger may have lost his long locks, but his energy, vocal range, and sudden spurts of emotion are still the same.

       Finally, the headliners As Tall as Lions took the stage slowly. The piano, trumpet and the rest of the instruments leisurely came in for "Stab City." "You look like someone..." sang Daniel Nigro through a megaphone accompanied with melodic piano, before the drums kicked in for "A Break a Pause." Nigro then announced "the party is just getting started," playing a couple of new songs off their new EP, In The River. "Ghosts of York" began and a small moshpit broke out in the middle of the very crowded room. "You with the red hair! There's no violence in here, we're all about love," Nigro yelled and requested the parties involved to hug. The band continued to play "Be Here Now" and followed with "Love Love Love" as an encore.

       Overall, the concert was very inviting. The Culture Room hosted yet another good show — so good, I almost forgot about those ridiculous Madelyn dudes!

       Be sure to check out our Band Marino interview, coming soon!

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As Tall As Lions vocalist Dan Nigro
As Tall As Lions vocalist Dan Nigro
Madelyn vocalist Jack
Madelyn vocalist Jack
Nathan Bond, vocalist of Band Marino
Nathan Bond, vocalist of Band Marino

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