SHOTGUN JIMMIE with Gregory Pepper & his Problems and Baby Eagle at the Monarch Tavern, Friday, March 29.
It's common for indie musicians to pare down their touring bands to save money. That often means leaving the flautist or string section at home. Shotgun Jimmie went one step further and cut out the band entirely, and the bare-bones arrangements enhanced the crunchy lo-fi charm of his new album, Everything, Everything.
Jimmie avoided the singer/songwriter-strumming-an-acoustic-guitar-on-a-stool cliché by sitting in front of a kick drum, playing guitar and percussion simultaneously, and occasionally shaking a maraca. This let the endearing, playful, everyman lyrics of his crisp, brief tunes stand out, and the multi-tasking gave the audience something to watch. So much for his "slacker" reputation.
The opening acts had a similar ramshackle charm, which fit the cozy Monarch Tavern. Gregory Pepper & His Problems played a bouncy, tongue-in-cheek set of theatrical, guitar-solo-laden rock, and Baby Eagle crooned a few weary, poetic tunes stripped of their ragged rock glory without his backing band.