Monday, May 25, 2009

5/23/09 - The Octopus Project, This Will Destroy You, Ume

headed to yet another show at the granada, which is quickly becoming my favorite venue (alas, what's happened to you, club dada?)...

i could not believe the crowd at this show - absolutely packed. never seen it so full. maybe because it was all-ages? dono, but it was great to see a full house in dallas for once.

Ume was up first. i've seen these guys a few times now, and i swear they get better every time. they totally brought down the house with their ass-kicking, high-energy, snarling but very catchy brand of guitar rock, with Lauren at her whirling-dervish finest (how the hell does she still manage to play, as she thrashes about like a woman possessed?). truly awesome. probably the highlight of the evening for me.

video

This Will Destroy You was up next. 5-piece post-rock instrumental band. they definitely have the whole ambient, dark, atmospheric, epic Explosions-in-the-Sky vibe down pat. they are very good at what they do, but to me, all the songs started to sound the same after a while (at one point i actually asked my date, isn't this the first song they played? and i was only half-kidding). i've said it before - if you're gonna make a go of it as an instrumental outfit, you've really gotta have something special, and you've really gotta work hard at mixin' things up to keep it fresh (see below for inspiration...). kudos to the drummer, whose energy was the only thing keepin the crowd awake (kidding!)
The Octopus Project headlined, and they were awesome. what a blast they were to watch - tons of interaction with the crowd, lots of cuttin' up and general goofiness - i loved it, and you could tell they loved what they were doin, too. super-high-energy performance with beautiful theremin solos, very cool electronic beats, all layered with aggressive guitar riffs and keys. and what an extremely talented bunch, too - seemed like everyone played every instrument on the stage at some point. this is the kind of band you watch and say, goddam, i'd give my left nut to be in a band like that - how much fun would that be? don't miss this band if you can help it...

5/16/09 - The Dears, Great Northern, Eulogies

this was an example of a show that i really thought i would get into, but ended up falling fairly flat...

Eulogies, from LA, was up first. four-piece band, fairly straight-forward indie guitar pop, pretty low-key, pleasant tunes. well written and well executed, but they all started sounding the same after a bit...
Great Northern, also from LA, were up next. Again - pretty standard indie pop, although with a harder and darker edge than Eulogies. Nice sharing of vocal duties between male and female leads. Dono what it was, I usually get into that kind of stuff, but it just failed to grab me. Maybe a tad too earnest? Dono. Still, I'd give them another chance if they came thru town again.
headlining was The Dears, from Montreal. I wasn't overly enthralled with what i'd heard on myspace and youtube, but they are supposedly known for putting on a great live show, so i took the gamble. things started out really well, with the lead leaning up against the sound booth at the back of the room with a wireless mic, singing a beautiful, nearly acapella song (using a recorded track only - no band on the stage at this point). people started catching on as he walked towards the stage, and he was soon surrounded by the crowd as he crooned soulfully into the mic. eventually, the band came out on stage and added their voices to finish the song. 'twas a very cool moment. unfortunately, for me, that was the highlight of the show. don't get me wrong, they played a very solid set of sometimes-poppy, sometimes-lush-and-ethereal, but always heart-felt tunes, but i just kept waiting for the next song to really grab me, and it just never happened. nothing they did had the kind of spark of that first song (at least, to me). however, there were many hardcore fans there who left fully satisfied, so...