Saturday, July 26, 2008
Toiling Midgets, 7/25/08, Bottom of the Hill, SF
Despite being very tired on a Friday evening, I managed to drag my ass over to SF from Oakland to catch the reunited Toiling Midgets at the Bottom of the Hill.
The two opening bands, Vir and Index of Clouds, played atmospheric, droney music. Vir was better when the singer stopped singing and played his reverb, chorus, and echo slathered guitar. Index of Clouds reminded me a lot of Painless Nights era Sleepers, minus vocals. Both bands played ambitious, long songs; this can sometimes feel a bit boring in a live setting, so I drifted in and out of appreciation.
The Midgets set seemed pretty ramshackle at times, and Craig looked to be going through some serious tech problems with his pedals. When they did hit their classic interlocked Hood and Gray guitar lines, though, it was glorious. I can't think of band that uses guitars as ethereal voices so well. For me, Toiling Midgets conjure up one of the best soundtracks for San Francisco's weirdly opaque environment. I guess they're not really a functioning band that rehearses a lot, so I chose forgive the occasional lapses and hold out for their shining moments, of which there were several. Their music pretty much requires this from a listener. They're not going to solicit for approval, so one has to take the music in on it's own terms. I bet they make their best music when no one else is around. I don't hold that against them. I woke up this morning with that sound still careening around in my head. The music had it's intended effect. I hold them in high regard.