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I stood listening to openers Wooden Birds, trying to identify exactly what they reminded me of. Tight playing, country-tinged songs with pleasing boy-girl harmonies -- wait -- Fleetwood Mac! While I would have preferred Vetiver, who opened an earlier portion of the Clientele tour, the Birds were serviceable.

The Clientele came on stage and launched into an Alex Chilton number, setting the stage for an evening of intricately played haze-pop. They followed up with "Since K Got Over Me," which I'm pretty sure is on repeat in heaven right now, and "Here Comes the Phantom," the best song from God Save the Clientele. Alasdair MacLean traded out his Telecaster for a pristine Rickenbacker, implored the peanut gallery to "shut the fuck up," and kicked out a quieter jam from the new album.

From there the set alternated between delicate newer material and the crowd-pleasing older songs. It occurred to me, as MacLean lead the group through "I Hope I Know You," that the Clientele are a mood band -- it's hard not to get swept up in the wistfulness of some of the songs. It also occurred to me that they are one of the finest pop bands ever.

  • Concert: the Clientele
  • Show date: March 4
  • Venue: the Casbah
  • Seats: general, about 15 feet from the stage
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