Scrabbel / The Mosquitoes / The Lucksmiths
Make-Out Room

May 1, 2005

Review by Meg Sharkey

I arrived early and keyed up to see my current favorite local band, Scrabbel, perform at a venue dear to my heart, The Make-Out Room. Dan Lee's songwriting is tops, and his arrangement skills have been honed razor-sharp, possibly from the year he spent touring with the Aislers Set. If you like 60s influenced pop music (think the Kinks and the Zombies), you will almost undoubtedly like Scrabbel.

Dan's always been drawn to getting different sounds than the standard indie pop outfit (see the Speak 'n' Spell "Robot Song" on the s/t record). Tonight featured cello, xylophone, organ, and, on one song, clarinet. The cellist, Hellen Jo who writes the cool mini-comic "Komisches Buch", really adds a deep and melodic counterpoint to the bright guitar & organ.

They were playing with a different drummer since the last time I saw them play: Chris Kline of Three Ring Records, the label that's putting out the excellent new Scrabbel record "1909". Pete Nguyen from Total Shutdown and Ee plays drums on "1909" and sets a pretty high bar, but I thought the new drummer was really rocking and upped the energy level.

The next band, The Mosqiutoes, is a three-piece and they played short, twangy pop songs with wry humor and catchy melodies. I think I heard forklifts mentioned in more than one song. Their set was phenomenally short (maybe 15 or 20 minutes) and definitely leaves you wanting more. The drummer, Becky Barron, was originally in Scrabbel long ago, and was also in #Poundsign#. She has a lot of presence on-stage and was fun to watch.

The Lucksmiths headlined, here all the way from Australia to support their new release "The Chapter In Your Life Entitled San Francisco". Who doesn't love to hear great pop-songs about your city sung by charming Australian boys? They played a lot of songs off the new release, which all sounded great with tight harmonies, and that upbeat happy and romantic pop-sound that reminded me of one of my teenage favs, The Housemartins. Another new song that I remember liking besides the title track was called "T-Shirt Weather" and just made me happy that spring is here and we're in San Francisco and out seeing great music without having to wear a wooly scarf.