|Are they wearing pants behind those sheets?|
Another trio, Dallas' own Nervous Curtains, hit the stage next. They appeared to play two different kinds of keyboard or synthesizer, and drums. Lead singer Sean Kirkpatrick was dressed like a skinny Han Solo behind his futuristic control deck.
Perhaps wanting to make their name stick, the band actually hung sheets or curtains from their keyboards. But what we wanted to know was, what (if anything) was making those curtains nervous?
The music was, of course, synthy and heavy. They had a sort of emo Nick Cave or shoegazing Kurt Weill vibe going --- a rather dark '80s feel. They dabbled in various branches of the '80s tree, from Bauhaus to an almost dance-hall Clash number at one point. R thought they were aiming for an "Arcade Fire, but with less instruments" tag. Except, you know, more lugubrious.
A couple of times between songs they twiddled the knobs on their synths just a bit longer than is usually deemed acceptable by the audience. "Thanks for your patience," said Sean as they tried to find whatever correct level or tuning they were seeking. These things happen, but N felt it was a moment representative of the band's overall lack of stage dynamism.
Listening to Nervous Curtains' set, we felt perhaps the fans of this band were profoundly dissatisfied with life. Or in any case, the kind of people willing to accept the band's lack of engagement. The band might have seemed more of a fit in a mid-'90s goth club.
We imagined the uber-Nervous Curtains fan. The girl that won't read the popular vampire novels because they're sell-outs. She bites hard enough to draw blood when making out with her boyfriend. She likes making her friends come see this band. The band is not bad, but no one except her has any fun.
In sum: We weren't swept away by Nervous Curtains' brand of musical theater. R thought maybe a sexy goth girl singer and a My Bloody Valentine-style guitarist might spice things up. Or, as he put it, "Become a completely different band and you'd have something." N wasn't quite as dismissive, but would have preferred Nervous Curtains to be more Nick Cave --- dark, sure, but boldly theatrical, with story-based songs and strong lyrics --- and less emo.