Icy Demons at Great Scott, July 27, 2008
Unless you’re, say, George Michael, summer Sunday-night shows can be rough on a band, who have to play to a crowd that’s sun-dazed and bummed out about the imminent back-to-reality slap on the sunburn of Monday morning. Especially when you don’t go on till it is Monday morning — which is where Chicago’s Icy Demons found themselves at Great Scott, taking the stage a little after midnight, following searing sets by locals Paparazzi and Pretty & Nice.
Head Demon Griffin Rodriguez (a/k/a Blue Hawaii, of Need New Body and Bablicon semi-fame) did his best to rile up the 30 or 40 folks who remained, hopping down to the floor in front of the stage on a couple of occasions, asking the soundman to turn up his drum machine. (“We want you guys to feel this.”) And it worked, to a point — a handful of people danced to the more upbeat songs, most of which were culled from Icy Demons’ new Miami Ice (Obey Your Brain). But the music of this six-piece — Rodriguez along with three keys-and-guitar-swapping dudes, a drummer (not co-founder/drummer Chris Powell, who doesn’t tour with Icy Deez because of other band Man Man’s busy schedule), and a bouncy tambourine-toting woman in red sequins who sang almost every word along with Rodriguez — just wasn’t compelling enough to rouse the room.
Said music is marked by an abundance of cool ideas: an unusual syncopated rhythm here, an unexpected jazzy chord change there. Too often, however, the disparate parts fail to jell. “Summer Samba” was a pleasant but humdrum samba-with-synths that went nowhere. “Miami Ice,” a lighthearted song about a jaunt to you-know-where, started with a fuzzy synth arpeggio and puttered along aimlessly before petering out on the repetitive riff it had begun with. Rodriguez sang about “Taking a trip, just for a trip.” Sometimes that just isn’t enough.
: Live Reviews
, George Michael, great Scott