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Review: Miniature Tigers get down at The Basement, preview new album

“You guys came out here on a Sunday night, that’s awesome. There’s so much stuff on TV right now!”

If singer and guitarist Charlie Brand was impressed with the crowd, then the audience certainly had similar feelings about Miniature Tigers during the band’s packed show at The Basement Sunday. Coming out with beers in hand and giving off a very casual and personable vibe, Miniature Tigers were somehow able to deliver their laid back indie-pop set list with energy that got the entire crowd excited and hyped up.

The first opener was Flashlights, a group that was able to mix a slowed down rock set with punctuated bursts of high energy. Flashlights braved the Columbus cold to play Sunday night’s show, a point they made the crowd aware of since the band hails from Florida. A punk group that’s a little more mature than the bands of my middle school days, Flashlights delivered an emotional performance that started out slow, but ended with explosive energy.

Total Slacker, the next opener, had a garage punk style and sloppiness right out of the 1980s, but in a good way because the band totally owned it. According to the lead singer Tucker Rountree, the band just played a show in New York with Macaulay Culkin’s band, Pizza Underground. Rountree added that he “can never look at ‘Home Alone’ the same,” a feeling I now share.

The Brooklyn-based band definitely entered with a harder style that would blow Flashlights and Miniature Tigers out of the water, something I usually wouldn’t go for, but that I actually really ended up enjoying. Total Slacker is a group I could see Bill and Ted or Wayne and Garth enjoying. Maybe it was the multi-colored windbreaker or the baggy flannel that Rountree was rocking, but whatever it was, it got me hooked.

When Miniature Tigers came out, they immediately owned the stage. The intimate setting of The Basement was perfect for them, and they brought a presence as though they were playing at a house show rather than a concert venue, dancing and high-fiving fans throughout their set.

Opening with “Swimming Pool Blues,” a single from their upcoming album, “Cruel Runnings,” the first thing I noticed was how Brand nailed the vocals.

On a whole, the band delivered a retro-pop sound supported by a strong baseline and drum beats that added energy and brought the group’s cozy songs to life. The Miniature Tigers played a new song from “Cruel Runnings,” which is set to be released later this spring, called “We Used to be the S—,” which was a keyboard heavy, poppy song that kept with the upbeat dancing vibe of the show even though the song was about an ex-girlfriend.

Ending with “Sex on the Regular,” a cut from their 2012 album “Mia Pharaoh,” and then encoring with established songs “Bullfighter Jacket” and “Cannibal Queen,” Miniature Tigers gave an awesome performance and were able to bring an amazing amount of life and energy out to ramp up their fun, relaxed recordings.

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