Magic Kids at Grimey's, 8/30/10

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  • Photo: Diana Lee Zadlo

It's easy to take Grimey's in-stores for granted. As many times as we've seen a band like Surfer Blood shut the place down because it's so jammed with fans, we've also seen a handful of people awkwardly milling about while Tyler Ramsey attempted to sway us from the pre-loved CD rack with a Jackson Browne cover. We have no clue what will draw folks out of their holes sometimes, but we had a good feeling about Magic Kids.

Mostly, it was the fact that they were playing the last show of their in-store tour and their only show in Nashville, which meant that nobody could blow it off in favor pounding $3 PBRs while they played The End later that night. By 6, the back part of the store was already shoulder-to-shoulder. A couple spins of the new Heavy Cream record later, the crowd had snaked into the new CD section. The band took an extra half-hour to start, likely due to the sheer volume of stuff they had to get up and running. Magic Kids aren't the biggest band we've ever seen at Grimey's — Lambchop takes that cake and several more cakes stacked on top of that cake — but they did cram the most stuff into one 8-by-8 space of any band we can recall. All we could think was, “These guys must be awesome at Tetris.”

Magic Kids sound like the kind of band that would have inspired the Ramones to do End of the Century with Phil Spector. “Delightful” is probably the least rock 'n' roll word in the dictionary, aside from maybe “mawkish,” but that's exactly what they were. Songs like “Cry With Me Baby,” their closing number, came off like what we would've heard from Marty McFly if he hadn't gone whole hog and freaked everybody out at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. They're retro but with enough sense about themselves to incorporate contemporary pop flourishes and not act like a tribute band. There's nothing we like more after a long day at work than charmingly twee pop songs and free beer, and both Magic Kids and Grimey's delivered admirably on those counts. We would've danced if we had more than a thin inch of personal space, and if our legs hadn't fallen asleep from standing in one spot for an hour-and-a-half.

Though we love it, Grimey's isn't always the best place for a show. Their P.A. system might be fine for an acoustic Justin Townes Earle set, but it bowed under the weight of five musicians and their arsenal of keyboards, amps, guitars, drums and a wind chime. Singer Bennett Foster kept thumping the wedge monitor to get it to work, and one of the speakers was plagued by feedback for the last chunk of the show. The brief technical problems gave us some gnarly flashbacks to our days of haunting The Boro, but what do you really expect? They're a record store, not Mercy Lounge.

Still, Magic Kids' performance left us wanting more than the half hour or so of songs they threw our way. It won't be until November that they come back to play a “proper show” at The End, but we wished we had the option of seeing them again after a couple of hours. Before bouncing to catch the beginning of Rock & Roll Trivia at Mercy, we snagged a copy of their record to tide us over until then.

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