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My Pet Dragon Record Review Party, Mercury Lounge, Friday, August 5th, 2011

That night, that Friday night, last Friday at the Mercury Lounge, was, well . . . nice. My Pet Dragon definitely lifted up the evening and was a good listen, but never quite got me jumping up and down to write home to mother about what a great new tune I found.

It took a while for the band to get warmed up and warm up to the crowd. By the 4th or 5th song to the room was jiving. Dressed in a Jimi Hendrix shirt mixed with a sort of dungeon and dragons look, Michaelsen did hold a great stage though and really belted his musical layers in those last several songs of the set.

Meanwhile, Shah danced next to him on stage illustrating her musical talents here and there. Mostly though, she seemed more concerned on exhibiting her slow tantric swaying dance moves occasionally singing harmony in the microphone, shaking the tambourine, and pounding away at the synthesizer.

I was reminded of an early U2 concert I never went to and the airy and spacey vocal qualities of Radiohead.

It seems like the band has a loyal following as the crowd stood and swayed admiring their beloved in front of them. It wasn't the rocker crowd, or the stoners, or the mellow, or the relaxed, but a sort of upbeat star-gazer kind of folk that are still whimsically seeking out that alternative rock scene lost in the mid 90s.

Michaelsen has some good taste though, great taste, being inspired by the Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Hendrix, and Flaming Lips. He and Shah have been involved in some hardy projects with quality producers, films, and Djs. Producer and DJ Karsh Kale had Michaelsen write and score three songs for his 2006 album broken English. Later in 2009 Michaelsen scored the music for a film “Sita Sings the Blues” while Shah voiced the main character. Then,well known producer Stephen George teamed up with them to produce their next album.

In show, there's an edge that's missing. There's that certain “umph” that just isn't there, that's not going to send me back to their line. Then again, I never liked U2 either, and I've not “grown-up” with or followed My Pet Dragon to become really attached. It took me a while to get into them in concert, to see their layers, to uncover that bit of spark. Maybe it just takes time.

Their latest record “Mountains and Cities,”released August 2nd sounds great though. Its first track Majestic Lovers is an epic upward beginning to a great album. There's definitely a sort of lover's tale intertwined in the theme of the record. Crisp, clean and bright vocals accentuate Michaelsen's shimmering lyrics and tingling instrumentals. With every listen there's more to discover in MPD. I like them better with every listen.

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