Colder in Moscow at 7th Street Entry

Colder in Moscow - Photo from their MySpace

“Okay, this next one is a loud one,” John Walker said in introducing almost every song during Colder in Moscow’s show at the Entry Saturday night. The funny thing was, none of the songs really got that loud, nor did they rock that hard. Not that that was really a problem; on such a bitterly cold night as this one, the laid-back warmth of the Chaska sextet’s post-pop was what made their show such a welcoming refuge from the harsh winter weather that ushered in the new year.

Of course, the “loud” references weren’t without a bit of sarcasm on Walker’s part, which shouldn’t come as all that much of a surprise. Sporting a scruffy blond beard and a red and white flannel shirt, the band’s rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist played the role of the mc for most of the night, doing his best to keep the mood relaxed between songs.

“Come on, I’m the fat guy,” he explained at one point, “I have to talk a lot.” When lead guitarist Eric Carlson broke a string, it was Walker who kept things moving along while Carlson made a replacement, regaling the audience with stories about watching Seinfeld and smashing his toenail while working at a CVS.

In comparison, the rest of the band mostly went about the business of playing to a small but intimate group of concertgoers. Kicking off a set that featured most of the songs from Great Speculation with the song “DCRS,” lead singer Michael Roser set the tone as he hunched over his electric piano, looking down intently as he littered chunky chords over the music’s bluesy melodies and abruptly-turning time signatures. For all the apparent seriousness in the band’s playing, the music remained loose, its emo-tinged harmonies delivered with a rough spontaneity that complemented the flowing arrangements.

Rolling through such numbers as “Anthropomorphic,” “Yellow Rainsuits,” and “Draw” early in the set, it was Carlson who got the most animated, swinging his arms as he strummed his guitar, shaking the neck of his instrument for extra vibrato and leaning in close to his amplifier stack to get more feedback. As a result, when he took over lead vocals on “Blastoise,” it made perfect sense that it wound up being the most furious song of the night, the band straining to reach his tenor as it crashed from the song’s ascending verses to the half-time swing of the choruses.

Toward the end of the show, things tailed off a bit as Colder in Moscow’s playing got a little messier, but even then it only seemed to enhance the playfulness of some of the songs; the iceberg reference at the beginning of “Titanic Calawsys,” for instance, came across much more tongue-in-cheek than may have otherwise been obvious.

Before setting into the last song, “Hotel Holland,” it was only appropriate that Walker get the last word. “I thought I heard Eric laughing when I started singing,” he said, trying to draw his band mate into the monologue. Carlson – who had said little throughout the evening – did his best to avoid the trap, simply replying, “Yes, I was laughing,” then went about tuning his guitar.

“Well,” Walker exclaimed, “it was the most frightening thing I’ve ever heard!”

How Was the Show for You?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *