The Getter Flash
Thurs Feb 21 at Graceland.

You knew it was going to be mellow when Getter flash drummer Joel Stedman and cellist/bassist Marta deLeon began last Thursday night's set in jackets. Eventually their outerwear came off, but the entire show was chilly and slow-moving. The players looked down at the floor a lot, and singer/keyboardist Lisa Johnson often appeared as though she had been hung up from behind on a hook.

I couldn't blame her: Those were the moments when she wasn't singing or playing her keyboard. Given downtime, Johnson actually attempted to dance to the Getter flash's music, and believe me, this was not music for dancing.

Someone to my left muttered something like, "This is what happens when you put four air signs up onstage together." It was just a quip--I doubt the person actually knew the band, or the astrological makeup of its players--but the comment rang true. Think Aberdeen and the stuff of Sarah Records, or Belly on lithium perhaps. I did enjoy listening to Steve Haruch, who had a great, clean sound on his guitar. His playing was gentle, but it also managed to be inspired and bright, as was deLeon's cello-playing. Johnson's vocals were also very pretty, but at times they were precious and lackluster. And honestly, I didn't really know what to think of Stedman: I couldn't tell if he could really play his drums or not, and half the time he was tapping his kit with such little force, I imagined the drumheads weren't even vibrating.

Midway through, the band played one song I did enjoy. It began with predictable brooding disaffect, but it actually got going after a bit, culminating in a strong, fitful climax. I couldn't tell if it was the greatest song ever, or if I was just desperate to be shaken up at that point. Either way, it was a fine bit of music.