Live Review: Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s

Alex Schaaf

Last weekend, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s brought in the month of November with a show at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom. Their presentation of both folksy rock and the art of drinking a good bottle of wine was the perfect ingredient to a crisp fall weekend.
With eight band members on stage, the group had a core base of guitars, bass, keys and drums, but they then had an extra percussionist, a violinist/slide guitarist, and a horn player. The leader of this dysfunctional family is Richard Edwards, who projects a serious-yet-laidback persona, taking long swigs of red wine in between songs.
The band has just released their newest album, “Animal!” The release came in two versions: “Animal!” — the band’s preferred collection — and “Not Animal,” the record label’s version. The two albums share many of the same songs, but differ in production styles and in a few songs that only appear on one of the albums.
Edwards and the band played heavily from the new release, featuring songs from both versions, but they also threw in a few from their last release, their debut album “The Dust of Retreat” from 2006.
With the audience — which only filled three-quarters of the room — clamoring for more well-known hits like “Quiet as a Mouse” or “Jen is Bringin’ the Drugs,” Edwards remarked “That’s our old stuff, don’t you know we have a new album?” making it clear that the band is committed to and focused on the new material.
Edwards and the band took advantage of the rather low-key atmosphere, joking around between songs. After many songs, Edwards would proclaim, “Thank you, we are Weezer!” or “Thanks, we’re the Counting Crows!” In the middle of the set, he started playing snippets of different Weezer songs after being urged on by the crowd.
All in all, it was not a show that changed any lives or converted any nonbelievers, but it was a welcome respite from election activity and a charming set from a young, up-and-coming band.