Overcoming a couple hindrances -- a hurried set-list (due to the '90s alt-rock cover band slotted to take the stage later in the evening) and folding chairs that inhibited movement -- the Ohio-based duo Over the Rhine still had feet tapping and heads soulfully swaying Friday night at the Bluebird.
Keyboardist and songwriter Linford Detweiler passed the time during instrument changes and guitar tunings with hilariously dead-pan banter -- spoken mostly under his breath - making fun of the Bluebird's notoriously unwavering musk, as well as the venue's affinity for tribute bands.
No one dared to get another drink or urinate for the breadth of their hour-long set, mostly because they weren't sure what to do with rows of folding chairs in what's usually a crowded and noisy bar. The crowd clearly adored the band, eager applause and excitable yelps quickly dissolving into quiet after each song finished.
The majority of their set came off of their latest album, The Trumpet Child
, which adds cabaret-style swing to the band's already expansive repertoire. Detweiler and his wife and co-conspirator Karen Bergquist exchanged instruments throughout the show, and each took an extended solo.
One track is seemingly ripped off of a mid-period Tom Waits album, complete with horns, strange percussion and the distinctive sound of a blunt object hammering against a cookie sheet. Bergquist wailed in perfect time on the poor cookie sheet. Having already graced us with her soulful guitar, piano and vocals, she delved into the bold world of obscure auxiliary percussion, looking like a stylish homemaker trying to scare off some raccoons.