Too bad, so sad

Where were you, Sacramento? I thought you were going to meet me at the Capitol Garage for the Lovemakers’ show on Monday, May 3. When I got to the club and saw you weren’t there, I called your house. I even left a message with your roommate, though I know he never writes them down.

I was pretty understanding when you stood me up at the Raveonettes show at The Boardwalk last month, Sacramento. I figured you must have had car trouble, or else it was your mom’s birthday dinner. I knew you’d make it out to see the Lovemakers with me, and everything would be cool between us.

But there I was, standing by myself (again) at the Capitol Garage, wondering why you didn’t show up. Luckily, it was hard to feel sad while Shaun Slaughter was spinning up-tempo dance music. His records filled the breaks between bands, as well as the physical space around the 20 or so folks mingling in the echoing venue.

Just before Pets began their electro-rock set, I text-messaged you: “Band onstage NOW. Where R U Sacto?” Pets are one of the area’s newest musical duos (this was their fifth show) and an endearingly cute couple. Unfortunately, Pets’ short set fell victim to muddy sound and barely audible vocals. It was tough to determine whether the difficulties were caused by the band, the sound man or the oft-maligned brick walls of the Capitol Garage. Whatever the reason, when Slaughter spun their CD later that night, he proved that Pets’ sound troubles vanish in the studio, leaving behind distinctly danceable tracks.

I left a final message on your voice mail, Sacramento, when Sekiden took the stage. A pop trio from Brisbane, Australia, Sekiden was the surprise of the night. Its sound—an irresistible, guitar-heavy pop laced with odd robot noises—produced an effect like Weezer without the pretension or ManPlanet without the costumes. The group’s hooks were so pleasing that they managed to rhyme words like “you were in my heart” with “from the very start” without tripping anyone’s trite-o-meter. By set’s end, the modest crowd pumped fists in the air with gleeful abandon—a phenomenon Sekiden’s keyboardist smilingly termed “a Bon Jovi experience” in her charming Aussie accent.

The Lovemakers, a super-sexy trio from Oakland, followed with a smartly polished set of 1980s-influenced pop that was alternately reminiscent of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Human League and the Cure. The Lovemakers have gained a reputation for risqué outfits and onstage make-out sessions, but their music held enough technical and lyrical interest to carry the show gimmick-free. Both vocalist Lisa Light (in a transparent dress) and guitarist Scott Blonde (sweaty and shirtless) roamed the club during songs, leaning on crowd members and each other as they breathily shared one microphone. Their confident stage presence quickly turned the near-empty club into close, steamy quarters.

It’s really too bad you weren’t there, Sacramento. I can’t remember the last time I had more fun at the Capitol Garage. Oh, and Sacramento? I spent that $10 I owe you on a Sekiden CD.