The Glad Version (Saturday, February 26th, 2005, 400 Bar, Minneapolis)
By Jim Brunzell III
Though I’d heard of The Glad Version before, I hadn’t heard their music until last week when I began listening to the MP3’s on their website (http://www.thegladversion.com.) My first instinct was they reminded me of a band I loved in the mid 90’s from Texas, the now defunct band, Crumb.
When the trio took the stage at the 400 Bar Saturday night opening for Deathray Davies, lead singer/rhythm guitarist, Adam Svec, lead guitarist, Chris Salter and drummer, Tor Johnson looked professional and poised. Something I noticed right away was there was no bass player, an arrangement I hadn’t seen since the last time I saw JSBX. [Jon Spencer Blues Explosion].
Svec, whom resembles a younger Dan Wilson of Semisonic, thanked the crowd for coming early and lifted his guitar strap over his shoulder. The band opened up with a new song called “Tin Soldier.” I wasn’t prepared to hear songs even newer than the ones I’d just became acquainted with early in the week from their 2004 CD, Smile Pretty Make Nice. “Tin Soldier” struck me as astute, captivating and well-crafted, with a delicate verse that shifted into a frantic chorus. The song set the ideal tone for their set.
Playing only one song off Smile Pretty Make Nice (“Your Ghost Tonight”) Saturday night, I was impressed by the Glad Version’s nine “newer” songs--the writing seemed to be even stronger. Svec’s lyrics were earnest and poignant, yet never “cheesy” or “emo-ish”. Some of the other newer titles were, ‘Calendars & Coffee Cups,” “Lipstick Hip,” and “Beautiful Skeleton.” The first couple songs were good, but it wasn’t until they played, “Nineteen Eighty,” with its chorus worthy of a rock anthem, that I was swept away. This song alone was worth the price of admission, and hearing Svec sink into a smooth falsetto was impressive too. “South Dakota kids, having South Dakota kids, I know?” After the song was over Svec told the audience, “That’s a song about North Dakota.”
The set was terrific until Svec did actually did reach for a bass guitar. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I thought when the bass was added to the mix it overshadowed Salter’s guitar licks. And Johnson’s defined beats and even Svec’s vocals were different when they played the last two songs. I don’t know if this is how the songs were originally written (with a bass in mind,) but I thought the two guitars were stronger and could’ve done without the bass entirely.
After their set, I kept replaying the “South Dakota.” phrase in my head over and over well into the wee hours of Saturday night and well into Sunday.
What’s in the Glad Version’s future? Svec said after their set
that they’re in the process of recording four new tracks that should
be done at the end of March. Then they hope to do at least another EP
with [producer] John Hermanson before the year’s end. I hope the
Glad Version remember this review when deciding what four songs to put
on that EP.