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The Apples hit with a smiling conviction

The Apples in Stereo
Turner Hall
Milwaukee, WI
May 3, 2010
The Apples in Stereo The Apples in Stereo The Apples in Stereo

Story by Thomas Calkins
Photos by Amanda Roslansky

Most Apples in Stereo fans probably fall into one of three camps, novelty rockers, record nerds, and recording nerds. Basically put, the people who would be watching 120 Minutes if it was still on TV. A most hospitable and loyal pool to pull from, for what they lacked in numbers at Turner they had in heart as the Apples blasted through new ones, old ones and favorites like "Can You Feel It?," "Same Old Drag" and "The Sun is Out."

Apparently the Apples in Stereo have a very interesting and convoluted back-story. None of which I'm going to get into here. It's well documented on the interwebs. What's important to know is that the Apples always touch the Beatles, what's more interesting is that they also invoke the Dickies at their punkest, the Wombles at their most silliest, and Hall and Oates at there most synthesized.

In fact, what's even more unique is that the newest record Travellers in Space and Time shakes hands with ELO in a big way, (think "Turn to Stone"), a sound which nowadays sounds so outdated, that it feels modern. What the Apples tap into though is the irony that while the synthesizer was hailed as an instrument of the future, it became so delightfully outdated. The outfits said it all as the band itself was donned in silver-covered " time-travel" suits, some looking like they were stolen from the dressing rooms of Slade, and others from Devo.

Some of what they do is obviously done to comedic effect. Any grown man that wears an all silver outfit and claims to be a time traveler is either light-hearted, highly delusional or Gary Glitter, and I think Gary's doing a tour of Asian prisons, so that cuts our options down significantly. What's no joke about the Apples in Stereo is the uncanny ability to write that song that makes you mentally ill, forever running their choruses and verses on an endless loop in your head.

On a technical note, the band included a standard guitar-bass-drums-vocal scheme, while the backside of the stage was filled out with three keyboard rigs to accommodate the rubbery, synth-heavy sound of the new Apples material. When keyboard players were not busy tickling the "ivories," they were handling slide guitar, melodica, trumpet, percussion, or singing harmonies. Needles to say, the Apples were able to faithfully recreate all of those layers from their recordings without stepping on each other. No matter how comical they looked or acted through the night, the Apples hit the songs with conviction.

In all honesty, if you're feeling austere or have a stiff upper lip, the Apples in Stereo are probably just going to piss you off. On the other hand, at the right moment they might just be that thing you need to light up.

Related articles:

The Apples in Stereo - Concert review - Madison, WI - Feb. 2007
The Apples In Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder - Album review

The Apples in Stereo

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