Sorry about the 3 Margot posts in a row...
Sunday night at the Mohawk Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos played their second Austin show of 2008. As is to be expected from a band that just released a new album (2 new albums actually) the set was filled mostly with new songs (I didn't write down the set list but off the top of my head I can think of 4 old songs that they played: Skeleton Key, On a Freezing Chicago Street, Vampires in Blue Dresses, and Quiet as a Mouse). Overall, the band played well and sounded fine. They actually had 2 additional strings players (from the fantastic opening band Judgement Day) on stage for the show bringing the total number of musicians to 10. The sight of all of those people crammed onto the stage combined with their chic homemade lighting made for quite a spectacle. But somehow the band, specifically singer Richard Edwards, was able to ruin the show for me despite my unhealthy excitement and love for Margot's music.
Let me start with May 30 at Emo's. Margot played to a room full of people, many of which were admittedly a little rude to the band…involved in conversations that drowned out the quieter parts of the songs. After about 35 minutes Richard Edwards announced that the next song would be their last, adding a snide comment about how people were more concerned about what "Suzy was doing later" than listening to music. Fortunately, the band decided to come back out to play another 8 songs or so, but Edwards' attitude made the rest of the show difficult to enjoy for those of us who were there to listen to music.
Fast forward to Tuesday, October 7, release date for Margot's new albums Animal! and Not Animal. Of course, we've already discussed the conflict between the band and their label that ultimately resulted in there being 2 albums released. But I couldn't help but be a little put off by the fact that the band aired their dirty laundry in public. To me it seemed like a typical major label situation that certainly didn't warrant the bands public rebellion against the company that paid to make the record that Margot couldn't afford to finish on their own. Did they not realize that by signing with a major label they'd be relinquishing a great deal of control over their releases? I'm not supportive of the way major record labels do business but it is pretty obvious in 2008 that they are not interested in the artistic value of what they release. Ultimately though, the real loser in this situation is the fan who happens to enjoy Not Animal, the "label compiled collection of songs." We're now made to feel guilty about enjoying Broadripple is Burning and The Ocean because we know that the band disapproves of those songs being on the album.