Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s

Bo Jackson, a modern day Renaissance man, taught the world many things. He excelled in both professional baseball and basketball, he fought crime with Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan on a Saturday morning cartoon and most importantly, he could not be tackled in Tecmo Bowl. Besides the Sesame Street guest appearances and iconic ad campaign, Bo Jackson was also a modern philosopher.

“Set your goals high,” he said, “and don’t stop till you get there.”

Both as wise and tasty as a fortune cookie, Jackson’s words still hold true to this day: case in point … the eight-piece Indiana band Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s.

Called everything from “sex-folk” to “scarf rock,” Margot is a one-of-a-kind band with such a large sound that genre-creating is needed to describe them accurately.

“I’ve heard us called ‘orchestral rock’ … ‘chamber pop,'” Emily Watkins, Margot’s pianist/back-up vocalist/sporadic ‘meow’-er, said during a recent phone interview with buzz. “Something with the word ‘melodic’ in it … it would be a good word to use, I think.” Regardless of their nuanced descriptions, Margot is a band about carrying out goals. After the release of their superb debut, The Dust of Retreat, in 2005, the band proclaimed they would tour 10,000 miles and then start their new record.

“We probably traveled at least 30,000 miles … since the last record,” Emily Watkins laughed. “Just crazy amounts of miles.”

And now that they knocked that goal out of the park Bo Jackson-style, Margot is back in the studio, creating an awesome sophomore album.

“I’m way excited,” Watkins said from the band’s Indiana home. “It’s gonna be awesome. I don’t know how it couldn’t be because we are all so excited.”

Excitement revolves around Margot like the electrons in a Bohr atomic model. Selling over 10,000 records through their former label, V2, playing sold-out shows in Chicago and San Francisco, and touring the nation thrice all in the past year, the simile is hardly a stretch at all. And to totally kill the metaphor, at the nucleus of this exciting dynamo lies the band’s live show.

Margot started as primarily a four-piece – Richard Edwards and Andy Frey fronting with Chris Frey (Andy’s brother) and Tyler Watkins (not Emily’s brother) as the rhythm section. As the record developed, though, the membership grew.

“When we started thinking about the live show,” Emily said, “everyone had to be a part of it … it required so many people.”

With a large lineup, the band can dive into songs with more power and energy than what could have been done as a smaller outfit. Like other contemporary indie collectives like The Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s prove the old adage “bigger is better.” Complete with trumpet, piano, cello and various hand percussions, Margot bring to their live show an intensity that exceeds their album.

“People say they like it better than our record,” Watkins said, “I think we usually tend to make it a good experience.”

Coming to town in their converted school bus, complete with eight bunk beds (like a “traveling dorm room,” as Watkins put it), Margot will play the Courtyard Cafe in the Union with Headlights. A big band, a huge sound and a tiny stage can only have fantastic results. Bo knows it … even though he doesn’t know hockey.

Make sure to check out Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s as they play a sweet-ass show with Headlights, Page France, Canada and Gentleman Auction House this Saturday night at The Courtyard Cafe. Admission is $5 for students, and $7 for the general public.

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