Review: Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s at Turner Hall Ballroom

Photo and words by Brian Whitney

Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s embody chamber pop a la The Shins and Arcade Fire, replete with 1960’s style guitars, horns, extra percussion and the operatic, yawning vocals of singer-songwriter Richard Edwards. The show on Saturday night promoted their major label debut ‘Animal!/Not Animal‘, which is actually two different versions of the same record, one of which features a track list picked by the band (only available as an LP) the other by the label (available on CD and digitally.) Since when would Epic do something so ridiculous for a band making its debut? … But I digress.

The band is Edwards’ second project to be named in tribute to Wes Anderson’s film The Royal Tenenbaums. True to form, the band seemed like a dysfunctional family on stage. Edwards alternated between a bottle of red wine and an unidentifiable mixed drink while slurring Weezer jokes at the crowd. Keyboardist Emily Watkins and guitarist Andy Fry interacted in a way that danced between affection and disdain. Percussionist Casey Tennis, clad in raccoon-style eye shadow and a head sock, engaged in a display of earnest goofiness that wasn’t intended for the audience nor his bandmates. Much like the Tenenbaums, the tension and clashing personalities unified the band rather than pushing them apart.

The band’s performance was almost secondary; at best they seemed reminiscent of former Elephant 6-ers Beulah, with Edwards’ sleepy shouts taking the place of Miles Kurofsky’s nasal tenor. The band proved proficient at playing poppy rock, and the interaction (really non-interaction) between the band members made them a compelling live band, almost entirely by accident.

Download: “Children’s Crusade on Acid” (Live), Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s


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