You Should’ve Been There: Jaguar Love at the Indigo District, 5/31/08

Photos by Todd Cooper

My ears, they ring. There weren’t enough bodies in the Indigo District tonight to absorb enough of the treble coming out of the speakers, which looked small but sounded big enough to hold several Johnny Whitneys and all their falsetto notes.

But I get ahead of myself. Fact is, I can’t speak to either of the opening bands, as I’m still not sure who was who. The second band had a nice dose of late-’90s I’m-in-a-basement-in-New-Jersey shouting crossed with early At the Drive-In, which was a good soundtrack to sitting at the nearly empty bar and shooting the shit. But we were there to see Whitney do his diva-hand (as seen above; the guy puts Cursive’s Tim Kasher to shame with the diva hand) and the littler Votolato — that’d be guitarist Cody, as opposed to singer-songwriter fella Rocky, whom I also adore — and the rest of Jaguar Love do their thing. Us and about 30 other people. The band doesn’t have an album out yet, so I kind of get the low turnout, but seriously, did Blood Brothers mean nothing to you people? (Confession: I had this spaced out moment at the door and kept referring to Jaguar Love as Blood Brothers. Well, two out of five ain’t bad. Sorry, Pretty Girls Make Graves Guy. It’s the vocals I think of first.)

It’s hard to have a lot to say about the show when you’ve heard just four songs by a band, but the thing is, there’s something about this kind of music that I find hard to describe in the best of situations. It’s not like the danceable angles of a band like Q and Not U, where there’s so much space between the instruments, and it’s not like the density of a good poppy punk band, either. It’s — this is the best I could do — an aural assault you can dance to. It hurts, a little bit, and it kept putting me in mind of Daphne Carr’s paper at this year’s EMP Pop Conference. She spoke about noise rock, and at the end, the lights went out and the noise started. And, just for a little minute, I got it. It’s not physical the way a vibrating bass is physical; it’s more washing, more drenching, than that. It doesn’t just shake your eardrums, but blisters them. You can’t do it very often.

The Eugenean audience exercises the right not to rock:

Jaguar Love hits that funny place where I want to cover my ears and I want to shake my ass. (Big internet imaginary hugs to the tall skinny guy in the plaid shirt who was totally shaking his. I admire you, sir.) The last three songs were the best; they were the catchiest, the whoa-oh-ohs slipping out from under the barrage of distortion and (too-sharp) snare drum to sink in just long enough to register as something to which you actually might sing along. And so I did. Just a little.

Listen to ’em here: Jaguar Love on MySpace.