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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

Mikey Goralnik | Paint The Town Brown

When I saw The Egg next to stellar acts like The New Deal and !!! on the Camp Bisco VII bill last summer, I assumed that festival organizers/namesakes the Disco Biscuits were trying to save a little money by filling out the excellent schedule with crappily named bands from their local Philadelphia.
    Not the case. It wasn't quite the British Invasion, but it was apparently a gigantic deal when the Biscuits managed to snag similarly techno-jammy London band The Egg for their annual summer festival. The notoriously passionate Biscuits nation no doubt collectively soiled themselves when it was announced that this longtime runner of the UK live-band electronica game was coming to the United States.
    Luckily, I was not one of these incontinent folks as, like most of the nation, I had never heard of this stupidly named band. But trusting the Biscuits' tastes, I decided to use the magic of the Internet to track down some of its recordings and see what all the fuss was about.
    Not much. Though the group has some stellar moments, on record The Egg is pretty average — it kind of sounds like the Disco Biscuits if the Disco Biscuits didn't like to party, or conversely, Air if the Frenchmen partied like hedonists. So when I saw that the band was coming to town, I didn't exactly have to reach for my Depends. But, being a certified painter, I figured some show is better than no show, so I went back for round two.
    Now I know what all those Biscuits kids were geeking about on the Internet last summer — The Egg is awesome live. Funkily electronic but not passé, housey but not cheesy, The Egg combines professional cohesiveness with Ben Cullum's filthy bass playing, catering to a rowdy dance party and doing the Disco Biscuits proud.
    None of this is to say that the group didn't indicate why its records are underwhelming. Except for Cullun, no one in The Egg is that good. The keyboards are repetitive, largely un-improvised, and technically un-wowing. The drumming is all of these things but more so, with Maff (lol) Scott ceaselessly banging out the same rhythms song in and song out — like the Energizer bunny, only with much worse teeth.
    That said, The Egg performs with the savvy and cohesiveness of a band with nearly 15 years of touring experience. Effortlessly segueing between songs and visibly communicating transitions to each other on stage, The Egg may not have displayed impressive chops, but it definitely maximized its abilities. The criminally small but obviously appreciative "crowd" seemed to enjoy the limited lag time between songs — I haven't seen the Middle East's wooden floor so covered in sweat since that nightmare I had a few years ago where the club was turned into a sauna and I sat around sweating with Chris Matthews and Pat Robertson.
    As impressed as I was with the group's professionalism, I was equally impressed with its bassist. Ben Cullum can play — anything from groovy funk rhythms to propulsive house to relaxed noodling, he got the crowd's collective booty shakin' almost right away and never really stopped. While the drums were mindlessly interminable, Cullum's sustained bass rhythms shifted rationally, creatively and dynamically, and, at points, threatened to steal the show from the whole band.
    More often though, The Egg's whole was substantially greater than the sum of its parts. The Egg might not be amazing, but it's professional, smooth, and polished (obviously — the band's from the same country as James Bond), it has a killer bassist, and it throws down live. If the Egg ever comes back to Amurrica, I guess I'll need those Depends after all.

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Mikey Goralnik is a senior majoring in American history. He can be reached at Michael.Goralnik@tufts.edu


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