If you haven't heard of Berklee undergrads The Young Republic, I highly recommend that you check them out. They are one of my favorite Boston bands. Only three or so years into their career, they've amassed an armful of releases, most of which are excellent. So I only say what I'm about to say out of love. They really need to loosen up. Three times now I've seen them, and they always look like they're playing a high school band concert or something. I know, I know, there are SO many of them and on a stage such as the one they played at Great Scott on Sunday night, there's barely enough room to fit everyone up there. No excuse. They must figure out a way to make everybody up there visible. Even if it means kicking a string player or two off stage. Oh and one more thing: please somebody, ANYBODY, take the mic away from Julian Saporiti in between songs.
Their much-hyped Canadian-based billmates, Rock Plaza Central, who had come to our fine city all the way from a show last night in Montreal, could teach the Young Republic a thing or two about performing with an unwieldy collection of instruments. At six members strong (they usually have one more), they're not exactly well-suited to play a small stage like Great Scott, either. Yet they somehow manage to have a good time up there without getting in each other's way. I'm speaking specifically about their two-man horn section. At least one of those dudes kept taking these big kid leaps around the stage -- this during the opener, mind you. Afterwards, frontman Chris Eaton took the mood down a notch with a story about passing a Seventies era-inspired van on the road with the license plate, "The Tony," driven by a goofy-looking guy, his wife dressed as a vagina in the passenger seat. Three songs later (maybe?), the band played what's soon to be a blog favorite, if it isn't already (it is), "My Children Be Joyful." The song started spare and scattered with the chorus coming at the onset. It picked up soon after: violin, drums, horns, the whole shebang. Eaton sang over the glorious tangle in this country, but not too country drawl. As had been happening all night, nearly everybody on stage joined in sloppy unison to deliver the chorus's vocals in the end -- kind of like a B-line car full of first-time drinkers from BU would on Friday night (I might be the only one in the world who enjoys it when they do that shit). In short, they were exactly what a big ol' rock band should aspire to be: hectic, spontaneous (or at least seemingly so), and COLLABORATIVE. My only gripe was that I didn't get to hear the band's excellently understated take on "Sexy Back." They may have played it, but I couldn't stay around to see if they did. Damn MBTA.