Monday, March 31, 2008

Paint the Town Orange

March 27th, 2008 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY - Caribou w/ F**k Buttons and Dan Friel
Images and Review by Dominick Mastrangelo

I've been fixated on drummers recently. I used to think that if I could be a drummer in a band I'd like it to be in the French electronic outfit M83. But lately, the list has grown larger. First there was Say Hi, then there was Longwave and last Thursday night at the Music Hall in Williamsburg was Caribou. Playing before a packed house, Daniel Snaith and Co. rolled through a selection of songs from last year's lovely psych-pop record, Andorra, as well as selections from earlier material. Yet, the best moments occurred when Snaith slid out of his guitar and sat down at the drums opposite Brad Weber's kit. The two hammered away in unison, lost in the beat on tracks like "Sandy" and "Sundialing"; the double shot of percussion showcased even more by the unique setup of having both kits front and center while bassist Andy Lloyd and guitarist Ryan Smith were set at the back of the stage.

Also playing up the psychedelic feel were the constant flashing and swirling of projected patterns, colors and grids blanketing the band as it fell along the white backdrop. The melancholy pop ballad, "She's The One" (with Lloyd given Snaith's lead vocal turn), and "Eli," a Magical Mystery Tour-era number (and two of the highlights from the new record) were respectively beautiful and trippy. But the drums, oh, those drums, stole the set at every turn.

F**k Buttons, the British duo with the jarring name and thumping, electronic (dance?) music opened. Having spun their new record, Street Horrrsing, I wasn't sure what to think about seeing these songs - which sound much more suited for some secret, underground dance party - performed in a live situation. Yet, taken in a live context, the Buttons have something going for them. There was Benjamin John Power's tribal drumming as Andrew Hung danced in and out of a lone spotlight while supplying eerie shrieks to "Ribs Out." There was the white noise and dissonance via laptops and the indecipherable screams into a toy microphone by Power (who often would simply hold the plastic mic in his mouth) on several tracks including the hypnotic "Bright Tomorrows." (mp3) I realized quickly that nothing this duo does is by accident. And it was nice to see how they achieved their sound. But live, just as on the record, the tracks run a straight line with no variation in beat or tempo. Just the occasional addition or subtraction of keyboards, synth, noise or fuzzed out screams. I kept hoping for a warm melody to swoop in and rescue me. I had to wait until Caribou took the stage before that happened.

Remaining Tour Dates:
March 31 – Satellite Ballroom - Charlottesville, VA
April 01 – Cat’s Cradle - Carrboro, NC
April 02 – 40 Watt Club - Athens, GA
April 03 – Common Grounds - Gainesville, FL
April 04 – The Social - Orlando, FL
April 05 – Culture Room - Fort Lauderdale, FL
April 06 – Crowbar - Tampa, FL
April 07 – Club Downunder - Tallahassee, FL
April 08 – Mercy Lounge - Nashville, TN
April 09 – Wexner Center - Columbus, OH
April 10 – Illini Union Courtyard CafĂ© - Urbana, IL
April 11 – Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL
April 12 – Triple Rock Club - Minneapolis, MN
April 13 – Royal Albert Arms - Winnipeg, Manitoba
April 14 – Amigos - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
April 15 – Starlite Room - Edmonton, Alberta
April 16 – Grand Theatre - Calgary, Alberta
April 18 – Biltmore Cabaret (two shows) - Vancouver, British Columbia
April 19 – Sugar - Victoria, British Columbia
April 20 – Chop Suey - Seattle, WA
April 21 – Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR
April 23 – The Independent - San Francisco, CA
April 24 – El Rey Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
April 25 – Plush - Tucson, AZ
April 26 – Club 101 - El Paso, TX
April 27 – Emo’s - Austin, TX
April 28 – Palladium Loft - Dallas, TX
April 29 – The Continental - Tulsa, OK
April 30 – The Record Bar - Kansas City, MO
May 01 – The Bilken Club - St. Louis, MO
May 02 – Waldron Auditorium - Bloomington, IN
May 03 – Oberlin College - Oberlin, OH
May 04 – Big Orbit’s Soundlab - Buffalo, NY

No comments: