September 30, 2006 - High Dive - Seattle, WA
by Sherri Prunier
Sneaky Thieves is a moody, atmospheric and mellow band - like classic singer/songwriter vocals a la Nick Drake or Jeff Buckley meets the music of Modest Mouse (during the Moon and Antarctica days). With a new self-produced album, Accident(s), and a recent signing to a small Portland label, they are eager to make the break.
Saturday night, at this small bar in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, they opened for Ordinary State and Aaron Sprinkle’s band Fair. The room was packed with a young, responsive and not-yet-inebriated crowd – which seemed to generally enjoy the Thieves’ show.
And though it kept my attention as well, and my affection for this band holds strong - I was admittedly disappointed their performance did not meet my expectations. Something so pleasing and admirable became a slight cacophony in translation; the transfer to the live show from the record did not bode well. I missed the harmonies for example, and felt the vocals did not impress as well as they should have.
There was an abundance of people and instruments on stage. With six band members each dealing with a few instruments - ranging from the standard guitars, keys and drums to the clarinet, banjo, and dobro – it felt like there was just too much going on at once. While it sounded mostly cohesive, it was distracting to watch.
It was the first time I had seen this band play live, however, and I believe I owe it to this group to give them a second chance.