Piano rock entertains Rat crowd

The Rathskeller was once again filled with the sound of music last Friday for a piano rock concert starring the Washington, D.C.-based group, Jukebox the Ghost. The Extraordinaires, a Philadelphia-based group, opened the show.

Jukebox the Ghost took the stage in what pianist and vocalist Ben Thornewill affectionately called their “Daisy Dudes,” with the three men wearing jeans cut off above the knee.

This was the trio’s second performance at the College, the first taking place during a previous tour. They began their set with a newer song titled, “Under My Skin.”

Each of Jukebox the Ghost’s songs had distinct appeal and tone, most notably found in a song sung in three-part harmony about the apocalypse.

In “Fire in the Sky,” the band sang of spaceships exploring outer space, where they encounter God. God then follows the spaceships back to Earth and destroys the planet.

“Fire in the Sky,” “Where are All The Scientists Now” and “A Matter of Time” covered a lot of ground both musically and lyrically. Jukebox the Ghost sang of destruction at the hands of various natural disasters. Victims retreat to bunkers, only to return to rubble.

Formerly called Sunday Mail, Jukebox the Ghost formed in the summer of 2006.

The members met while attending George Washington University as music majors.

They have opened for Kanye West and Lloyd Banks.

Jukebox the Ghost’s cynical lyrics and relaxed composure created a fun atmosphere inside the Rat.

Thornewill, guitarist Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin spent their time joking around with their guests. They made it evident they were out to have a good time, which created an enjoyable atmosphere inside the Rat.

The talent and lyrical wit of Jukebox the Ghost overshadowed the formulaic approach of The Extraordinaires. Their sophisticated dynamic stood out as an example of inspiration in the current music scene.

Although the Extraordinaires’ name invokes all that is great and superior, nothing about the Extraordinaires’ act was extraordinary, except for lead vocalist Jay Purdy’s fish-shaped, nylon string guitar, complete with fins.

Their idea of killer concert threads was gym shorts and muscle shirts. Though not fashionable, their choice of clothing was about as creative as the band got during the night.

The music they played wasn’t bad, just safe. They adhered almost too strictly to the folk/rock/pop image and sound they established for themselves. The band tried to mix things up when Purdy brought out a harmonica, and keyboardist Jacob Wolf and bassist Matt Gibson switched instruments, but the music still sounded the same.

The songs lacked individuality and it was hard to distinguish one from the other.