Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking Good: Grieves and Pendergast






















What are rock stars and rappers supposed to look like? It shouldn't matter, of course, but Friday night I was forced to ponder the significance of physical appearance.

Neither Tony Ladesich of Pendergast nor Seattle rapper Grieves are candidates for the cover of next month's GQ magazine.

While at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club I wondered again why Pendergast never found a wider audience. The exceptional band toured with conviction. And hearing a few dozen true believers sing along with Ladesich's earnest songs confirmed their universal appeal. Why didn't more people embrace them?

Maybe it's looks. In an amusing profile of Ladesich, Jason Harper describes him as "Stocky. Broad. Ursine. Roughly the same shape but half the size of your average NFL center." While I think Ladesich is incredibly sexy, he's not going to be mistaken for Rhett Miller of the Old '97s.

Over at the Riot Room, Grieves was compelled to address his unlikely appearance. "I know I look like I'm seventeen," the twenty-something artist sighed.

Grieves more closely resembles an ill-conceived cartoon character than a rapper. Yet Grieves' appearance might ultimately work in his favor. He may never win over T.I.'s audience, but the Warped Tour set might eventually wholeheartedly embrace Grieves as a fellow outsider.

His current collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Budo greatly enhances Grieves' prospects. He could successfully open for Fall Out Goy, MGMT or M.I.A. tomorrow.

While Grieves' career in music is on an upward trajectory, Ladesich should take great comfort in knowing that his work with Pendergast meant a great deal to his fans. Count this pudgy, graying geek among them.

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Kansas City Click: Saxophonist David Brandom plays at the Blue Room tonight.

(Original image of Grieves by There Stands the Glass.)