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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly"

Posted by Andrew R Tonry on Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 3:44 PM

A few notes and additions to Rob and Ezra's posts of the day:

Indeed the Dodos were impressive, as was the turnout for a Tuesday show at Doug Fir. The band certainly didn't strike a rock-star posture--they had very little to say between songs--but held the crowd on a string. They did it was an immaculately conceived and expertly executed set--most songs segued into each-other without really stopping. There were breathing points, and it was obvious when a song had concluded, but the music rarely stopped. The guitar would wrap around and the riff would twist into the next, or the beat would continue. Long's voice was very strong live, and as a whole the band took please playing with the songs, warping them, rather than deliver carbon copies from their records. At times long switch chords in musical breaks, adding a touch of dissonance or just a little shock. His guitar playing is quite impressive. He's fast as hell.

And for all that has been said about drummer Logan Kroeber's innovative beats, dude looks somewhat mellow in comparison to speed at which he's playing--certainly he doesn't thrash emotively like a Keith Moon, even when his rumblings are thick and busy as hell.

The idea of Dodos as a two piece is cute and marketable but indeed the third member was, for the most part, indispensable, whether it was banging on his delayed floor tom, vibes, gong or whatever. Although he did leave the stage occasionally, dude deserves to become a full time member.

Rob makes the comparison between the Dodos and Au as folk v. pop and I'm going to disagree, slightly. Live, the Dodos are very much a rock band (on record, yes, they are a sort of meta-folk). Long's guitar was amplified and distorted, and the speed at which he rammed through his fingerpicking offset it's traditional roots. All in all, a pretty hot show.

But indeed, Au--like it's music--was something altogether different. We arrived at the top of the mountain, so to speak--the orgiastic, orgasmic climax of the whole thing. I wonder what the payoff/release would've felt like has we climbed the entire creshendo, rather than having arrived near the top. Still, it was unbelievable. That happy, life-affirming collective come-together shit--you know, drum circles and shit.

Having the 20-odd person choir standing in front of the stage, rather than on it, was a huge help. It blurred the line between audience and performer almost completely. I--and many of those around me--couldn't help but clap along and yelp occasionally. It was one of those rare musical moments where Everyone rode the same wave. And goddamn, it took it's time to crest. All those harmonies kept soaring. A skillful expertise in restraint, Au mastermind Luke Wyland conducted the thing teasingly along to combustion (and for the record, the drummer, who's name I unfortunately don't have, is a fucking monster--and quite a singer to boot).

Lovely show. I feel lucky to have been a part.

It's a goddamn shame that the 20-member ensemble wont be joining Au on the road--it'd be on hell of a chautauqua. But hey, it was a one-time-deal. A moment and a feeling insanely difficult to re-create.

And finally, ending this ramble, let me again trumpet the absolutely gorgeous, airy, and stunning new album from Sigur Ros, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. The title's definition: "With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly." Holy Shit! It couldn't be more perfect. I learned that, and a whole lot of other cool shit--like the band, which often records for months and months, blew this one out in 11 days--in this great article by Nate Chinen.

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