Photo gallery of Tindersticks with Dawn Landes at Somerville Theater, Somerville Mass., on March 7, 2009.
Tindersticks broke their five-year stint of not touring the U.S. with a spellbinding performance. They inhabit the kind of dark, smoky lairs where the only illumination is provided by the glowing ends of cigarettes, or the occasional flicker of a half-functioning neon light (red, of course). It's obvious from the vocals of Stuart Staples that Matt Berninger of the National has spent considerable time listening to them. Nick Cave could also be reasonably triangulated as a reference, but there's far less brash violence and more introspection. Set closer "The Turns We Took" was stunning, with the seven-piece band working so effortlessly together. Opener Dawn Landes straddled a comfortable line between revved-up garage rock and traditional Americana songs, and her exuberance was refreshing.