18 February 2007

When Serendipity Strikes

No cajoling required for Kimplicated to be my +1 for Squirrel Nut Zippers at Smith’s last weekend. Snagged a crammed table stage left and struck up conversation with recent relocated Floridians at the intimately adjacent table. Sloshing on Strongbow, finished the pub grub as the opening act began.

Oh. My. Gawd. We were mistaken. We were not there to see SNZ. We were there to see Chapel Hill’s own The Old Ceremony.

Bowled over, struck happy, f*cking YEAH! And that’s by the end of the second song, when Cheek dashed to secure discs from the merch corner before they sold out. Have never been so impressed by an opening act. Lead guitarist as lead singer, keys, bass, drummer, fiddle, second keys/vibes/percussion, and cellist. Yes, cellist. Goose-pimply punch drunk, Kimplicated pegged their sound between Cake and Camper Von Beethoven. Compelling lyrics, riveting showMENship, catchy tunes.

Papers In Order is a new Cheek theme song:

Cried all I could afford
But now my crying time's ending
That's the message I'm sending out
I got my papers in order
Gonna find me a new love
Gonna find me a new love now.

No question that English literature Yale grad Django Haskins commanded the room on guitar and vocals, but Gabe Pelli on fiddle had the girls all a’flutter. Their discs don’t do their live energy justice – the slower tunes that drag a bit in the studio were smokily, lyrically, orchestrally riveting in person.

Chatted with Jimbo Mathus, leadman for SNZ, during the break and gave props for the pairing. Cigarette dangling, hat tipped, his Mississippi drawling self allowed as how Gabe and Mark (vibes) had been working with SNZ’s Katharine Whalen, and the roadtrip was a natural match. Sho’nuff, Gabe and Mark joined SNZ on stage for most of their set. Yes, Cheek sucks for not snapping an entire song’s performance, but it’s her virgin capture for YouTube. Post-cherry movie popping will suck less, promise.

As Django scrawled his inits on the CD, he described the band’s last performance in Atlanta at the Red Light Café to an ignoring crowd of 20. That sh*t is over. These boys are ready for prime time and have their papers in order.

Everybody’s got their own excuses
I know I’ve had mine too.
But I’m not gonna let a few bumps and bruises
Keep me from breakin’ thru.

Cheek’s found a new love, now, and they join the Listen!Roll. Run, don’t walk, and check out their MySpace page.

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