Grand Lake, Two Sheds, Fake Your Own Death and Kuma/Koshka
SF Winter Fest
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010
Better than: Watching the final season premiere of Lost. Absolutely, certainly, definitely. (Right?)
"It breaks my heart to be alive sometimes" was among the weighty, memorable refrains that Caitlin Gutenberger of Two Sheds dropped on a skeletal crowd at Thee Parkside last night. While one of few meaningful lyrics to come audibly out of the band's rough performance, it was certainly a fitting summation of the evening: Watching a block of talented locals deliver mostly lackluster performances brings on a particular kind of heartbreak.
Two Sheds, whose spare, moody rock fueled high hopes for last night's show, proved most disappointing, largely because they seemed unable to bring the mournful grace of their teetering songs to life. The subtleties of Gutenberger's smoky voice and the twinkling phrases of her reverb-laden guitar turned clumsy and blunt inside "San Francisco's Premier Dive Venue." Where we'd hoped for quivering sincerity -- on "It's Hard" and other gorgeous songs -- we heard only haphazard strumming and saw looks of surprise each time she realized where she was in the song. The other band members, including her husband Johnny Gutenberger, played along with generous smiles, and they weren't the only ones in the room showing teeth. Still, Two Sheds could have played far better. They could have decimated the crowd with their frankness and sublimity, but they didn't, and they acted onstage last night like they knew it.