Army Navy and Grand Archives at the crocodile

It took me by surprise a couple days ago when I learned Grand Archives, my favorite local band, was playing The Crocodile on Friday night. It seems like they’ve been coming up for air more often the past six months, perhaps in anticipation of their third album (word on the street is early 2012).  I begrudgingly had given up hope of going to this show because I’m a pathetic geezer but then I got my second wind and called the bar and they told me Grand Archives wasn’t going on roughly until 11 or 11:30.

Army Navy, a power pop band from LA, was good.  One minute I’m shivering in the cold walking down 2nd Avenue trying to make it inside before Grand Archives goes on, the next I’m standing there wide-eyed being blasted by fast and jangly guitars, Justin Kennedy’s twangy voice and a drummer who looks like he’s excited just to be alive. I’m disappointed I missed the first half of their set, they were a nice surprise. By the way, Kennedy is from Seattle and was once in a band (Pinwheel) with Ben Gibbard.

The crowd thinned noticeably after Army Navy. Grand Archives played before an appreciative but not exactly inspired room. There was about ten feet of prime real estate available in front of the stage most of the time, I was surprised so many people left. It was just one of those nights. But to me it’s perplexing because I love Grand Archives, they’re one of those bands you start to get a little embarrassed for liking so much because everything they touch seems to turn to gold for you. A group of fans next to me offered themselves up as human pogo-sticks through Torn Blue Foam Couch, one of the last songs of the night, in an apparent last-ditch attempt to inject life into the crowd.

There were some enjoyable twists and turns on a few of my favorite songs. I’m now convinced these guys are a lot better live, with a couple exceptions (like pretty Oslo Novelist thankfully left off the set-list for the evening).  Hey Hey Heart Attack and A Way Around have stood out to me after the past two shows (presumably they’ll be on the next album). Are We Coming to Get You? capped the night off in dramatic fashion.

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