Thursday, November 20, 2003

Concert Review:  Fountains of Wayne, Caviar, The Vic Theatre, Wednesday, November 19

The problem with being really into a band's albums is that you lose track of which songs are really popular and which are merely your favorites. After numerous listens, "Little Red Light" has surpassed "Stacy's Mom" and "Bright Future in Sales" as the best song on Fountains of Wayne's Welcome Interstate Managers, at least in my mind. So it was beyond comprehension that they wouldn't play it. And I was hoping for "Laser Show," from Utopia Parkway, if only to find out if they'd update the lyrics to reflect the change in Metallica's line-up.

But enough griping. What they did play was great, non-stop insanely catchy pop. Considering that Fountains of Wayne sold out the Double Door between albums, it was astonishing that they didn't sell out the Vic now that they have a genuine MTV hit on their hands with "Stacy's Mom." The good news is that, based on how the singing audience nearly drowned out the acoustic "Hey Julie," their newfound mainstream success isn't likely to make them a one-hit wonder. "Survival Car" became more obviously a Manhattan-based take on a '60s California driving songs like the Beach Boys' "Little Deuce Coupe." "Radiation Vibe" continues to be their platform for musical references; this time they ventured into Foreigner, the Cars, and Steve Perry's solo hit "Oh Sherrie" that was saved from utter awfulness by their mashing it up with the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army." They also hovered in the era when there were lots of Stacy-aged girls named Stacy with an E.L.O. cover, which they identified as such for the benefit of the youngsters in the audience.

Openers Caviar were also mining the musical past. One song began and ended with the guitarist singing through Peter Frampton-style vocal modification while the piano line from Little River Band's "Lady" played as an underlayer. They closed with several movements from the early Who mini-opera "A Quick One (While He's Away)." Their coolness in choosing such an obscure Who song was nearly obliterated by the guitarist's blatantly Townshendesque windmills.

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