LIVE REVIEW: Margot And The Nuclear So and So’s @ The Bowery Ballroom

OUT & ABOUT|Recent|Show Reviews



After living in New York for a while it’s easy to get wrapped up in the inevitable cynicism that encapsulates the city, which is usually charming but at times can be exhausting. This is most likely why I was initially welcoming of the undeniable midwestern charm of Indianapolis/Chicago-based Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s. With romantic, bordering on gushing lyrics (When you’re gone, I drink and wait and listen, till you get home. It’s fine, I smoke in the house // But I love you so who cares if you’re lazy), sweet acoustic melodies and sincere two-part harmonies, Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s knows exactly how to pull at your heartstrings.

Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s is loosely made up of Richard Edwards (vocals, guitar), Tyler Watkins (bass, vocals), Heidi Gluck (vocals, keys, bass), Kenny Childers (guitar, vocals), Chris Fry (drums), Ronnie Kwasman (guitar).  While their music is as versatile as it is romantic, their more recent albums indicate a shift towards alt folk/Americana.

The band has had an incredibly prolific career considering that they have only been active since 2004. Their first album, The Dust Of Retreat was released in 2005 and introduced the world to their earlier full, orchestral sounds. In 2008 Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s released two full lengths, Not Animal and Animal! While there are a number of overlapping songs on both albums, their simultaneously release stemmed from a disagreement with Epic Records over which songs should be selected to complete the album. So in the true spirit of compromise, two albums were released. Animal! is the selection of songs that Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s curated, and Not Animal is Epic’s choice. Their following albums Buzzard (2010), and Rot Gut, Domestic (2012) marked a shift away from the orchestral sounds of their earlier music and towards a more folk/alternative sound. Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s most recent album, Slingshot To Heaven (2014), is their most sentimental and stripped down work to date. With more acoustic songs than electric, guitar centered melodies, and crooning vocals, it indicates a move towards an even folkier Americana sound.

On May 3, Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s played a sold out show at The Bowery Ballroom, supported by Empires and Kate Myers (who also performed with the band on the keyboard, vocals and melodica). The setlist contained mostly new music off of Slingshot  (“Hello, San Francisco,” “When You’re Gone,” “Long Legged Blonde Memphis,” “Bleary-eye-d Blue,” “Lazy” and “Go To Sleep You Little Creep”), however they played a number of old songs (“Shannon,” “Fisher of Men” and “The Devil” off of Rot Gut, Domestic, “Birds” and “New York City Hotel Blues” off of Buzzard, “Broadripple is Burning” off of Not Animal, “Jen is Bringing the Drugs,” “On a Freezing Chicago Street” “Barfight Revolution, Power Violence” and “Skeleton Key” off of The Dust Of Retreat).  The set rolled on more or less in chronological order from new to old all while vintage clips featuring UFOs played on a loop in the background.

The band was affable yet firm with the audience as frontman Richard Edwards informed the crowd, “If you keep requesting only the popular songs then we won’t play them!” It was all in good fun, however, as the audience continued to shout out requests which were honored by the band. Overall they did end up playing most of the popular songs while relishing in the fact that the vast majority of the crowd sang along enthusiastically. They were refreshingly down to earth and maintained a casual and interactive relationship with the audience, which made their performance all the more personal and emotive.

If you missed out on all the romance of Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s this time around, you can catch them in various other locations this spring/summer.