Last Night: The Shys, Army Navy and Vast Atlantic at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, Oct. 11, 2008.
Better Than: Listening to "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo on repeat.
Download: Army Navy's self-titled debut LP, in stores Tuesday but on iTunes now.
Playing their last southern California show before heading east later this month, San Clemente's The Shys delivered their brand of garage rock to the Detroit Bar Saturday - but with only a 35-minute set, it was more of a scrimmage than opening day kickoff.
Let's be fair - it was their first show with new bassist Cory Case (dubbed a "historical occasion" by frontman Kyle Krone), so the lineup is still jelling. Still, there was some audible disappointment from the audience; expecting at least an encore for their troubles and $10.
Taking the stage just before midnight, The Shys ripped through "You'll Never Understand This Band The Way That I Do" tunes like "She's Already Gone" and "Brother Please," bringing the type of energy you'd expect from a hometown-ish show. The band seemed happy and receptive of their fans (drawing the night's biggest assemblage), peppering their banter between songs with lots of "God bless you"s. Krone's dad was in attendance, even. So the truncated set was likely a result of the personnel shift than any sort of drama queenism.
Oddly, the opening bands weren't announced by the venue until the night of the show (just the ever-mysterious "with special guests"), but their performances helped counter the brevity of the headlining set. Most notably, middle act Army Navy, a jangly power pop troupe from Los Angeles that's joining The Shys on their east coast tour, sounded great even though the crowd was either disinterested on elsewhere during their set (your loss, crowd).
Army Navy already has a sizable credit under the belt - an appearance on the quasi-hipster soundtrack du jour, "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" (and presumably, the titular playlist itself, if it truly is infinite and all). That song, "Silvery Sleds," was among the band's many highlights, along with a cover of Maxine Nightingale's "Right Back Where We Started From." Charming without being cloying or - ack! - twee, the vocals from singer Justin Kennedy are sunny with just a tinge of melancholy, like Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo on Splenda.
Opening things up were Orange County's Vast Atlantic, who despite looking like they came straight from indie rock central casting, played a credible, promising folksy-bluesy blend, even busting out a banjo for a couple tunes.
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Random Detail: A glass broke in the men's room sink, as if club bathrooms aren't already sufficiently hazardous to your health.
By The Way: The Shys and Army Navy return to Orange County Nov. 20 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. Vast Atlantic play The Prospector in Long Beach on Oct. 19.