Saturday night, I went with my wife and some friends to see The Sexy Accident play an acoustic show at Prospero’s Books. It was not the entire band, just Jesse Kates and Chad Toney playing acoustic guitars. They opened with a flubbed Josh Rouse cover and preceded to play songs from their last album, Kinda Like Fireworks, and their upcoming, Mantoloking.
The Sexy Accident is basically Jesse’s band. (When he first switched to performing pop songs instead of the ambient, looped music he used to make, the band was called Jesse Kates and The Sexy Accident. He has now trunkated the name.) Jesse writes quirky, angular pop songs, often sprinkled with humor, and he sings in a closed-throat, yet guttural, manner that would make Steven Patrick Morrissey and Kermit the Frog jealous. He is also a talented guitarist, which did not seem quite so obvious Saturday night when his and Chad’s guitars refused to stay in tune.
The beauty of the show was that Jesse made us focus. If the audience was too concerned with the late start, intonation, mix or lack of stage presence, it would have missed the smart pop that Jesse brings. (Not that any of those distractions are necessarily good things, but I think they make the listener hone in on what the performers are really trying to achieve.) Fortunately, there is something about the nature of acoustic guitars that helps us focus like this. There are no guitar effects; everything is bare. It was probably a perfect introduction to some of my friends because they had to focus only on the songs.