We always stand in the back at Cafe du Nord because the excellent sound system always sounds best there, plus there's that really bright digital clock at the soundboard so you can check how timely the artists are. We rolled in right as the last opening act, Simon Dawes, was finishing their sound check (only about 10 minutes behind schedule), and found their Weezer-sounding set pleasant.

Annuals (the Noise Pop site specifically says not to refer to them as "The" Annuals) are a ginormous group with grandiose instrumentation -- a sextet where the one woman wears a country dress and plays piano, that kind of band. They've got a very polished sound that reminded us of U2 (in a folk/synth kind of way), oddly enough, and we see them being featured on Aaron Axelson's Live 105 Soundcheck show very soon (if they haven't been already).

Update: Oh wait, we just checked and they were indeed featured on Soundcheck last week -- but unfortunately, they're listed as "The Annual" on the Live 105 site. Annuals can't be too happy about that.