Partners - Live Review
Playback St. Louis
04/4/03, The Hi-Pointe
by Laura Hamlett
We were tired. This was our third event of the night, and the band hadn't
given the doorman its list. Lucky for us, he was understanding, and cheerfully
headed upstairs to fetch a member of the band. We told him who we were;
he pronounced us, "Chill." Entry granted.
Upstairs, we expected the Floating City but found Tone Rodent, which
has a droning undertone that hurt my ears, making it hard to render
proper judgment. Earplugs firmly in place, we sat at the bar and we
The crowd was smaller than it should have been, given that it was a
Friday night at the Hi-Pointe, and given the caliber of the musicians.
The fact that they're a relatively unknown band surely played a factor,
as did the fact that one of the opening acts - one of the hotter ones
on the St. Louis circuit right now - had canceled. It's a shame, too,
because more people deserved to have seen what we saw.
Lab Partners - a foursome from Dayton, Ohio - took the stage amid heavy
smoke from the smoke machine. Swirling lights from onstage and off made
for an eerie, closed-in feel. Keyboardist Amy Smith, serious and unsmiling,
led in with a ghostlike sequencer before guitarist/vocalist Mike Smith
played a bleak, enhanced guitar to kick off the first song. This was
dreamy indie rock at its best.
Above us, the ceiling dripped plaster from a cavernous hole, but it
all seemed part of the effects. Light played across our faces as Lab
Partners played, no silence in between songs, no idle chatter.
Midset they threw a song at us that began fret-heavy with a solid beat;
for an unknown song, it sounded remarkably classic. The next offering
had a melodic, airy keyboard sound
that almost resembled a lighthouse. Smith's guitar very nearly screeched
to end the song. For their final number, Lab Partners' music was encompassing
and soothing, the perfect song on which to end an evening. You missed
the show, but it's not too late to discover the band. www.labpartners.net