I went to see an old friend’s band last week and ended up staying through the end of the night to see not only my friend’s band but the stylishly suited opener and the final band on the bill, a young Brooklyn outfit called Apollo Run. No offense to the first two bands, who delivered the kind of fine, traditionally rocking sets I’ve come to expect of them, but I want to focus on Apollo Run.
As they started their set with some mellow songs along the lines of the first YouTube clip here, loaded with rug harmonies, I was both impressed by the band members’ ability to harmonize on nonsense syllables and a bit bugged by the fact that some of the songs reminded me of that Fleet Foxes appearance on Saturday Night Live last fall. As with Fleet Foxes, I was impressed by how deftly and specifically Apollo Run bugged me that way I was bugged by rug pioneers like Crosby, Stills & Nash. I thought there was a point when I would live long enough to never have to hear a certain type of music again, but I was wrong. Rug harmonies are back.
Then the band began to loosen up a bit. Their opening song’s promise of some Police-like dynamics resurfaced along with more rocking dramatics along the lines of Queen and poppier late-period prog bands, like Asia or something (super-cute, engaging singer/keyboardist/guitarist/trumpeter John McGrew would have killed leading a progressive arena band from the late-’70s). More modern influences, surely, came to the fore, influences I could not identify if my life depended on it. They were so anthemic and “1980s,” at times, that I had visions of young, buzz-cutted Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer high-fiving over their soaring harmonies. It was terrifying, but it made me regret some of what I might have missed out on during my too-cool-for-school youth.