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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Last Night: Rad Cloud, Arcadio, and Grand Lake at Cafe du Nord

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Arcadio at Cafe du Nord - ANNA MCCARTHY
  • Anna McCarthy
  • Arcadio at Cafe du Nord

Rad Cloud, Arcadio, and Grand Lake
Cafe du Nord
January 6, 2010
Better Than
: Rad Cloud, Arcadio, and Grand Lake in 2009.

Last night, Cafe du Nord featured an eclectic mix of sounds: the mournful indie-rock of Grand Lake, the dark twang of Arcadio, and the new wave, choppy beats of Rad Cloud. But all three acts had one commonality--they were all from the Bay Area.

"This is sort of like a high school reunion for some people," said Arcadio's gravelly-voiced front man, Chris Manganello, midway through their set. Old classmates, random fans, long-lost relatives --they all packed the place by the time Arcadio took the stage to play songs from their debut album, You're Going to Miss the Things You Hate Most.

The songs on You're Going to Miss are too sweet-sounding to fit the grit of the band's description (they claim to play tunes befitting a "carnie's song in a smokey saloon with a Southern belle on your lap.") Manganello has a voice like a young Tom Waits (although one fan suggested it was more Randy Newman), but the music is lighter than any of Waits' carny two-steps.

Arcadio's members looked like they had first album jitters at the start of their set, shying away from soulful tunes that deserved to be played with eyes-closed intensity. But had they performed all of their songs with the same gusto as demonstrated on album highlight "Dixie Queen," they could have had everyone in the crowd whisked away to the shores of the bayou.

Those who stuck around on the dance floor had an opportunity to shake out the mellow, moody folk of Arcadio with the upbeat, San Francisco surf rock of Rad Cloud. The raddest part about Rad Cloud is that the members appeared consistently blissed-out. Even drummer Sarah Ashton smiled brightly while simultaneously sweating out the group's peppy beats and occasionally chiming in with backup vocals. Their obvious enthusiasm for performing added a lot to what felt at times like a rushed set.   

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