Us St. Louis residents had the pleasure of seeing ex-Get Up Kid Ryan Pope’s debut appearance as the drummer of Roman Numerals on Tuesday night. The band was kind enough to grace us with its presence at the town’s newest club, the Bluebird. (Take note, KC bands: The venue is looking to book good, quality acts there. Get more info at the MySpace page or at this bloglink.)
What struck me first during the performance – besides the fact that Pope is a dead-ringer for Ben Folds -- was how happy the Nooms looked. Not that they usually look or act particularly dour, but a looser, light-hearted atmosphere permeated the set, moreso than any of the multiple times I’ve seen them. The band’s music also seemed much more flexible – both in scope and arrangement-wise -- with Pope behind the kit.
More specifically, the spacey songs felt spacier, the rock-centric songs felt more, uh, rocking – and the band seemed to vacillate between styles with more ease than ever before. Which makes sense: Later Get Up Kids music – I’m specifically thinking about the quasi-shoegazing “Sick in Her Skin,” my favorite song from The Guilt Show – deviated and dovetailed from the hyperactive emo-pop of its early years; Pope can handle various genres quite well.
Granted, a few of the songs were a bit slower; “Msr. Control” in particular, perhaps owing to first-gig kinks. And also unsurprisingly, “The Rule of V” was by far the best song of the set, perhaps because the Captivity gem is closest to the compact rock Pope bashed out for years with GUK. But “Induce” was much more ferocious, if not Afghan Whigs-like; and “Can We Trust Your Architect?” was reliably peppy.
Billy Smith told me after the show that the band is planning on releasing a remix album – correct me if this is old news, or if I misinterpreted – on a sort of USB flashdrive, a.k.a. the type of device NIN’s Trent Reznor used to leak songs from Year Zero in a Portuguese bathroom. And then write new Nooms songs. I for one can’t wait.