It seemed like forever since i had raced down to Criminal Records to scoop up the last 2 tickets for this show. I had no idea who was even opening for Explosions In The Sky until a couple days earlier. Me and Biggie C arrived one minute after the supposed door opening time and were barely able to secure a spot in the front row. Lots of kids with “X”s on their hands were already setup. After The crowd quickly grew behind us, Eluvium came through the audience and climbed on stage right next to me. With all three bands’ equipment cluttering the small stage, it seemed to be the only way to get up there. Eluvium‘s new record, Copia, is really good and I’ve been jamming it a lot over the last month or two so i was very excited when I learned he was on the bill. Eluvium is the stage name of Seattle’s Matthew Cooper. He plays really ambient and distorted music on a keyboard and guitar. His performance was much more “wall-of-sound” than I had expected from the very mellow album, and continued a trend of being way too loud to not have earplugs(I’m stupid, I know i should be wearing earplugs to shows but they are just annoying to me). Looping each instrument into massive sonic waves, it was even better than I expected. The underage kids surrounding us were not impressed but good music taste often takes a while to develop. I’ll post some Eluvium tracks next week. Biggie C with some pics of a very dark stage: (click to enlarge)
Shortly after that, The Paper Chase took the stage. i didn’t really know anything about these guys, but they were great, and very very loud. I heard one of the kids around me describe them as “jagged noise-pop”(which they obviously found on Wikipedia), and that’s them exactly. Front man John Congleton was extremely entertaining between singing great, Jamming some amazing, piercing guitar lines, and dancing around in a really awkward way. The rest of the band was going at it like machines and it was well worth the damage it did to my eardrum. I’ll have some songs from these guys next week too: (click to enlarge)
So, for those who don’t know, Lenny’s has just recently moved to a new building down the street from the old one. I was not a big fan of the move at first because I liked the old, crappy, tiny place and that building has a lot of history (like this DVD I have of Cat Power with Steve Shelley drumming there back in 1995 when it was called Dottie’s) But the new place is pretty cool, especially the murals across the wall. That said, it was a very unfavorable location for an Explosions In The Sky show. First, the stage is very short and the EITS dudes are often on the ground playing with their pedal gear so most could not see what was going on. The sound setup and “shotgun” building shape combined with the thick sea of people made for greatly different volumes depending on how far away from the stage. Being lucky enough to be in the very front, my concert experience was quite different than most people I’ve talked to who also attended the show.
While EITS was setting up, all three of the axe wielders came on stage with an old suitcase containing about 7 pedals each. After setting up, they then laid down the rock. The entire set was pretty much one big crescendo. I really can’t remember a show where the music had such a steady building momentum. I remember seeing Mogwai twice last year and thinking it was rather “underwhelming” and kid of wondered if post-rock could really grab you in a live setting and EITS proved that i could. The venue exploded in cheers at the Set’s conclusion and after the crowd roared for what i thought was an impressive plea for an encore, One of the guys came out and said they didn’t have anything else. Encores sometimes seem so cheesy to me that it doesn’t bother me when a band comes and just puts forth the show with no bells or whistles and just kicks ass with pure sound. The way the entire show built up and let loose, I can understand why it would be hard to just throw another song in afterwards. Overall, a great show and i highly recommend you check out EITS when they come back (they said they’d be back in the fall). Hopefully they will play in a venue better suited to them. Just make sure to bring some protection for your ears because all I could hear afterwards was ringing until I passed out.
(click on image to see the full size)
- Posted by Davy Minor on March 16, 2007 at 1:43 am