Friday Night: Eels At Warehouse Live
Check out the bearded Eels and opening band The Submarines in our slideshow.
Photos by Marc Brubaker
Eels, The Submarines
July 22, 2011
Between songs, Mark Oliver Everett repeatedly apologized for taking so long to return to Houston. After 14 years, he'd finally brought his band Eels to town, clad in suits, sunglasses, and enough facial hair to outfit a crew of lumberjacks.
Throughout the band's massive 90-minute set, though, Everett also showered the crowd with playful commentary. "I've got a really good feeling about this!" he yelled after a few songs, sprinkling in other exclamations like "this is fun!" "you have a nice smile!" and "that was very positive!" amongst several more.
And the show was fun, and positive, and bright and dark, and booming and sultry, and certainly playful as Everett's vocals ranged from high-pitched whoops to the plunging depths of Tom Waits' gravel. Everett's assemblage of musicians banged out song after song from across his discography. Given their attire and the throng of concertgoers that swelled the Warehouse Live ballroom, the atmosphere felt more like a big SXSW showcase than simply another show at the big venue. People were happy, and it - life, the universe, et al. - was good.
It was also a significant contrast to the energy of the room during The Submarines opening set. The California duo of John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard (F. Scott Fitzgerald's great-granddaughter) whisked through a brief seven-song set that fell shy of the 30-minute mark, with light and pop-laden tunes.
The Submarines' Blake Hazard
Most anyone who has been bombarded by Apple advertising has heard their "You, Me And The Bourgeoisie," which was featured in commercials for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Its big hook celebrating happiness as Hazard sings "every day I wake up; I choose life; I choose love..."
The stage show paled in comparison though, as Hazard and Dragonetti both donned guitars and played to drum tracks streamed from a laptop. Occasionally Hazard would strike the xylophone in front of her, and on the final number she hoisted a melodica, but the absence of a full band seems to hamper the duo.
The songs are well-composed, and Hazard certainly has the necessary vocal talent. As they closed with a pair of more vigorous tunes, it felt as though they were reaching for something unattainable - an energy that, between the pair of them, they couldn't quite grasp.