JAI AGNISH at Ted's Wrecking Yard, Tuesday, January 9. Tickets: $3. Attendance: 20. Rating: NNN
charming isn't a word onewould normally use to describe someone associated with the Danielson Famile.The Bible-thumping indie pop group from New Jersey who dress in nurses' uniforms and whose leader, Daniel Smith, occasionally plays shows dressed in a 14-foot tree costume, tend to creep people out rather than charm them.
Indie strummer Jai Agnish's connection to the Danielson clan is strictly casual -- no nurse uniform for him -- so maybe that's why his intimate show at Ted's Tuesday was a fairly straightforward affair. A pal of locals Royal City, who got him the gig at the last minute, Agnish kept things delightfully simple. During his half-hour set, he said no more than a couple of words from the stage and transfixed the crowd with an eerie stare largely directed at the folks chatting loudly by the bar.
His only accompaniment came from the tiny beatbox and mixer he hauled out of a milk crate before the set. Behind Agnish's plaintive guitar and vocal lines gurgled a sideshow of beeps, blips, tambourine sounds and off-kilter beats.
Paired with his almost one-dimensional vocal range, the sound effects left Agnish's minimal folk songs sounding surprisingly full. You could imagine a lurching tune like Deaf Today filled out with epic production and lilting strings, but the no-fi effects made the songs catchier than they probably should have been.
That only two tables of fans and an amused Ron Sexsmith seemed to notice was a shame.