Live Review: Under The Rug

Venice West  Venice, CA

Contact: Bradshaw Lambert, [email protected]

Web: undertherugmusic.com

Players: Casey Dayan, lead vocals, mandolin; Brendan McQueeny, drums, piano;  Sean Campbell, guitar; Dominic Turchiarelli, keyboards, drums; Alec Woodruff, bass

Material: Playing to a packed room on a Tuesday night, Austin rock band Under The Rug shared music from their 2023 album, Homesick for Another World, and 2022’s Dear Adeline, as well as singles “I Don’t Want To Cry,” “Three-Legged Dog,” and “I Want To Go Home.” With a low-key, unassuming, forthright demeanor and great energy, the group shared a fabulous blend of vocals and instrumental musicality. Frontman Casey Dayan also got vulnerable, sharing about the challenging journey to their latest recording project in Los Angeles with direction from engineer Dave Peters.

Musicianship: Masterful in their delicious use of space and tension, opening song “Raindrops” brought gorgeous bass lines and gentle mandolin strumming. “Bolo Tie” offered a great mandolin bridge and breakdown that included some heavy guitar decoration. A tongue-in-cheek ode to bad advice, “Happiness Is Easy” delivered a great rock jam, while “I Needed Love” revealed a fabulous drumkit sound. “I Should Be Sleeping” revealed a gentle falsetto lullaby that transitioned into a rock ballad, while “As Long As You’re Here” added great vocal leaps and turnarounds, beautiful harmonies, and an elasticized time signature.  

Performance: The show continued with colorful chords and dissonant sprinklings to exaggerate the breakup angst in “Stuffed Monkey Farewell.” Demonstrating a great use of cutoffs and shifts in dynamics to create intrigue, they added organ sounds on the keys and chaotic band inserts to increase the effect. “Devil Smiles” unveiled a funky time signature and split vocal/drum inserts with a cool slide outro and belting rock jam, “Mary,” was ode to the melodramatic. With 12 years together as a band, the sound was tight and cohesive, with a Kings of Leon-meets-chill vibe.

Summary: “Three-Legged Dog” (their first-ever release) included more fabulous drumming and lyrics “right where I’m supposed to be,” while show closer, “I Want To Go Home,” shared delicious crying guitars in a perfect rock singalong and scat outro. Under the Rug combines rich musicality and juxtaposing dynamics with fabulous three-way vocal harmonies and a solid, balanced sound, wrapped in a fun, easy-to-digest atmosphere. – Andrea Beenham