by Zoë Sommers
Philadelphia-based Ceramic Animal and California-based Spendtime Palace joined each other in a cross-country tour this spring, bringing a show that was reminiscent of the seventies to the cozy Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge. Both bands played short but sweet sets, making me feel nostalgic for times that I never experienced. The two bands drew a nice crowd, with enough of a crowd to fill the empty space, but not too packed to prevent people in the crowd from dancing.
Ceramic Animal. Photo by Zoë Sommers for WRBB.
Ceramic Animal is a psychedelic rock band comprised of three brothers, Warren, Erik and Elliott, along with Dallas and Anthony. At the March 30 show, the five wore matching maroon tuxedos and three sported classic mustaches, perfectly demonstrating their retro style.
Each member played in a very laid-back manner without ever losing the energy of each song. A standout for me was their newest release, “All My Loving.” When they first introduced the song, they said it was meant to “slow it down a little bit” however the song itself had a few exciting tempo changes throughout which kept the spirit high.
After a set that went by much too fast, Ceramic Animal cleared the stage among shouts for an encore. And on came the members of Spendtime Palace.
The best way I can describe the lead singer, Dan, is a combination of Daryl Hall and John Oates. He has the feathered blond hair of Hall, and the chevron mustache of Oates. It made for a very fascinating look. While the band was setting up their stage, there was a scream of “I love you” from the crowd, eliciting a small smile from guitarist Elijah. After all of their instruments were in place, the band exited the stage. On came the drummer, Brandon, who played alone for a minute or so under colorful lights, next came Elijah and keyboarder Michael, followed by bassist Sean. Finally, Dan came onstage to sing “Lily Lee.” Their staggered entrance fueled the excitement of the crowd to kick off the start of a great set.
Keeping in line with the relaxed vibe, the members of Ceramic Animal roamed around the venue during the final set, chatting up fans and friends.
The most impressive feature of Spendtime Palace was their ability to constantly stay synchronized. During some songs, Michael put the tambourine that he had been playing around his neck. Each one was performed with tons of character and precision. The former allowed the crowd to dance around with no reservations, the latter was a testament to the band’s skill. Another standout song was their groovy rendition of the 1982 hit “Rock the Casbah” of the Clash.
I came to the show not having listened to much of either band, but after seeing them live, I left a fan of both.