Archive for the ‘vampire weekend’ tag
I made my first venture to The Space in Hamden, CT, a small venue that was specifically designed to be an all-ages venue in an state with very few places for the kiddos to hang out. Somehow I had always had a conflict on the nights when previous bands I wanted to see had come through, but I made sure I wasn’t going to miss Thao. While I was well above the median age of the audience, there was a group of six folks older than me that showed up just for Thao’s set. They were absolutely astonished that someone of Thao’s reputation was playing a club that looks like your friend’s basement. (If your friend had really, really great connections.)
Opening for Thao were All the Friends and Magic Man. All the Friends are an experimental indie rock trio from Waterbury, CT. I think these three young guys are still finding their sound. Each song sounded like an ode to a (worthy) influence. There’s the Beirut song, the Radiohead song, the Dirty Projectors song. But what really stands out about them is their very refined musicianship. They have not only the band nerd vibe, they’ve got some serious music chops, and as they continue to grow and explore who they want to become as a band, that underlying talent will give them a chance to make some truly great music. Download All the Friends’ two-song demo.
Magic Man played a boisterous set in the middle position. I always enjoy an indie band that isn’t afraid of dance music, and Magic Man embrace the joy of bodily movement like few bands I’ve seen. The most obvious comparison is to The Killers, but there are elements of Vampire Weekend in the vocals and the drastic tempo swings recall pioneering emo bands like Modest Mouse. Technically a duo, Magic Man played with a four-piece band, but the real hero was the little white Macbook producing a surprisingly smart and full sound, never just bleeps for bleeps sake or drum loops because there isn’t a drummer, but really filling out the sound. I am looking forward to listening to their debut album, which is available for free.
Thao is in the middle of a Northeast mini-tour following a month-long tour of Europe this winter. There is a rush that comes from standing about seven feet from the band with the 2008 best-selling album by a Kill Rock Stars band (Decemberists, Elliot Smith, Deerhoof). And when she said the good folks at Manic Productions had sent them to Miya’s Sushi, well, my worlds collided just a wee bit. (Wouldn’t Thao and Bun Lai have the cutest, most creative little babies ever?)
Thao’s set ran through all the highlights of We Brave Bee Stings and All and Know Better Learn Faster (except “Easy,” which may have been intended for an encore, but the venue was set up in such a way that the band leaving the stage before the encore left the audience confused and prevented us from showing the love to bring them back out). Thao’s music focuses on melodies and rhythms, the melodies nesting in as catchy little earworms and the the rhythms providing foot-tapping, hand-clapping happiness that warms your whole body over. I was happy to see that the Thao and the fellas had provided some different arrangements for the live versions of the songs. I now much prefer the live version of “Violet” to the album version. The songs (unsurprisingly) were immensely fun to sing along with, and the band provided some high-end claps that clearly challenged the audience. (I saw more than a few people shrug and give up. Clapping is hard for white high school kids from the ‘burbs.)
All in all, a pretty great show.