The Bangor-based Casio-folk trio Good Kids Sprouting Horns impressed me with their recorded material few months back and I have since been anxious to see if their live show could live up to my expectations. I was prepared to hear a set characterized by expressive melodies, plodding build-ups, and explosive choruses. I wasn’t ready for the band’s ability to make their well-crafted songs even better by turning bittersweet studio work into an enthralling rock show.
The group were nestled in the back of the recently-renovated Slainte on Saturday night, guarded by the striking red walls, with a disco-ball-like light as a backdrop. Even with a more space than before the remodeling, the venue was crowded — perhaps due to the buzz surrounding the band. Good Kids Sprouting Horns are one of two bands signed to the new Portland-based [dog] and [pony] record label led by Nick Poulin and Krister Rollins (the other, Jakob Battick & Friends, had played the night before).
There was a palpable, horror-movie-like tension in the down-tempo crescendos present in most of their songs. Frontman Anthony Bitetti has a tendency to let his foot dangle just above the overdrive pedal before blasting into the next chorus.
Primarily on guitar — and busting out a bass for a few songs — he seemed to swell and recede with each song, physically engaging himself in each lyric.
Bitetti’s voice oozes emotion — so much so that without the catchy melodies, Good Kids Sprouting Horns’ music would be depressing. Instead it is engaging and uplifting. Certain songs, like that night’s closer “Effigy,” will start off dark and spacious, but quickly turn into catchy, good-spirited romps.
Good Kids Sprouting Horns | myspace.com/charlieinthebox
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