The Alarmists at the Varsity Theater

Promising young bands celebrate a sweltering, belated Christmas

Just three songs into the Alarmists' set at the Varsity Theater Saturday night, Joe Kuefler was already dripping like an action
figure melting under a magnifying glass. "You guys are making this place hot," the lead singer flirted with the crowd. Maybe it was the collegiate audience, maybe it was Kuefler's suit coat (black and buttoned to the neck) that did it. If anyone onstage should have been sweating, it was keyboardist Eric Lovold. When not needed at his rig, Lovold could be found scooting around the stage with a tambourine, directing handclaps, or perching precariously on top of Ryan Mach's bass drum. The group played songs from their
upcoming debut EP, and left me hoping for a timely release. Among the highlights were "New Romans" and "Soldados" (both available at myspace.com/thealarmists), which has the grandiose feel of an Oasis arena ballad, but with Wilco's resolve keeping the sound staunchly grounded. Even after their last chord had faded out, the band wasn't quite done. They jumped back onstage to sing backup and bang a cowbell for White Light Riot's cover of "Tax Man," but not before delivering their buddies in the band a present--a lit-up, animated lawn reindeer with a broken antler.

 
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