Last night, I went down to the Cactus Cafe at the UTexas Student Union to see a very unique act, the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. They were visiting from New York City, and they brought their very funny collection of slides purchased from estate sales and flea markets. They really are a family -- all three of them introduced themselves at the start of the show, with Jason playing keyboard, guitars, vocals, commentary and dad, Tina doing vocals, running the slide projector, and playing mom, and Rachel, drums and daughter.
The songs were melodic in an anarchic sense. I don't think they'd be that catchy out of their context, but when played along with the projected photographs, they were really great. My favorite part was the five-piece rock opera performed using slides from a 1978 McDonald's corporate advertising presentation. Jason composed music to go with each of the pieces and sang the words. The 70's executive pictures that went with their quotes were totally cheesy, and the song called "Wendy's, Sambo's, Long John Silver's" was a highlight. They also did their hit (#79 on the CMJ charts!), "Mountain Trip to Old Japan 1958", which featured slides of a post-war vacation that all seemed to be oriented around death (graveyards, hanging memorials, public executions).
If you get any chance to see these guys, please go. The mid-set Q&A was awkwardly awesome, and Jason's long-winded introductions to the songs were often better (and longer) than the performances. I loved the rant about band names: Death Cab for Cutie isn't a good name because they don't bring death, they don't have a cab, and they aren't really cute, while the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players is a great name because every word is true and descriptive.
Opening for the TFSP was local group The Total Foxes, headed by Sinus Show guy Jerm Pollet. They were quite entertaining, more for their lyrics and on-stage antics than for their musicianship. I'd see them again, if just to hear their song about Jerm's stint in a KISS cover band again.