Margot gets Nuclear in Cambrdge at TTs

A review of Margot and the Nuclear So and So

, Staff

Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, an Indiana-borne band of eight, showcased their musical skills at T.T the Bears on Monday night. The extensive family of musicians covered a large palette of sound with a collaboration of drums, strings, guitars, brass and horns, all of which backed a passionate story of emotion told through Richard Edwards’ melancholy lyrics.&

The group was promoting their recently released albums, Animal! and Not Animal; both products of a debate between the band and their label, Epic Records, regarding which songs to feature on their second album’s release. Animal! acts as the bands preferred version and Not Animal as the more marketable, label-friendly edition, and both are home to various interesting and entertaining musical contributions.

The band had a decent showing for their 11 p.m. Monday night performance — the small stage area was filled with mostly twenty-something’s waiting patiently for their band-of-choice to appear. A few "check, checks," tambourine shakes, guitar strums, keyboard strokes, horn blows, percussion hits and violin notes later and the musical circus was ready to begin.

The set started with "A Children’s Crusade on Acid", which isn’t nearly as psychedelic as it’s name suggests. The song creates a sad, seductive feel, starting with bellowing bangs on percussion and soft keyboard notes and then later becoming layered with tranquil guitar chords and soft, soothing background vocals. Edwards’ gentle tone and impassioned lyrics add to the sullen vibe, creating a serious tune that’s easy to get lost in.

"As Tall As Cliffs", which seemed to be more popular among the crowd, offered a more upbeat, poppy, folk feel. The vast number of instruments on stage contributed to the jam, starting off with a sweet collaboration of harmonica, tambourine and guitar and later pulling in random suspenseful spurts with drums, keyboards — one of which was being played by another band mate while attached the back of guitarist Andy Fry — and horns to produce an intoxicatingly pleasurable song. It was like watching an explosion of musicians and instruments produce a thoroughly entrancing and transitional portrayal of chamber pop.

The biggest crowd pleaser of the set was "Skeleton Key" off of the band’s first album Dust of Retreat. Fans excitedly clapped on the songs first few chords and continued to sing and sway along with the beat as the song progressed. The tune consisted of a distinct violin coupled with dominant guitar chords that complimented Edwards’ stirring story of romance. His tender, compelling lyrics included the powerful exclaimation "I did a sick, sick thing to my love / My lack of loyalty, it swallowed her up." Some other additions of the band’s original record included "On a Freezing Chicago Street" and "Talking in Code", which also told a somber story of romantic woes with suggestive lyrics such as "And I’m sleeping alone in a house I don’t own cause you’re touring your mind you’ll get lost every time."&

Musical talent aside, each band member embodies his/her own appealing form of stage presence – they are almost as equally inspiring to watch as they are to listen to. Andy Fry, bassist Tyler Watkins, Chris Fry on drums, percussionist Casey Tennis, Hubert Glover on trumpet/trombone and Erik Kang on violin all add a shot of adrenaline to the performance – interacting with each other through smiles and laughs or jumping up and down to inspire excitement – getting the blood pumping through the veins of onlookers. Edwards and Emily Watkins on keys have a more serious musical presence – seemingly becoming engulfed with the music they are creating.& It is painstakingly obvious that Edwards has an emotional attachment to his lyrics; his fiery demeanor and facial expressions beautifully portray his devotion to song.

Margot’s final number, which was requested as an encore by the crowd, was "Hello Vagina", another track from the band’s recently released record. The song resembled a weepy lullaby – regardless of its provocative lyrics and title — with faint, melodic humming from Emily Watkins and a slow, whimsical combination of drum beats, keys and guitar. The crowd appeared pleased in the band’s final minutes, as they were throughout, seemingly appreciating and feeling the music and lyrics as they moved to the beats and sang along to themselves.

In general, the band’s talents and performance were impressive. Margot is capable combining a vast assortment of instruments and sounds to produce a distinct and interesting form of music that, when coupled with Edwards’ thought provoking and fervid lyrics, form an interesting expression of chamber pop and act as a true contribution to the music industry.&

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