Monday, November 1, 2010
Posted by Andrew
Is it just me or does it seem like there’s too much going on in this city sometimes? I was slightly weary when I got my Morning Benders ticket for Halloween weekend that not only might there be a weak turnout at Lincoln Hall, but also of the chance there’d be somewhere else I’d rather be. Fortunately, neither were the case.
Forgive me for going over the openers in brief, as I don’t want this review to get too overwrought before I even make it to the stars of the night. Oberhofer, fronted by Brad Oberhofer, poured the noughties UK angular scene through a no wave filter. Eighth note down-strokes and frantic yelps shouted an immediacy that was only quelled by start/stop dynamics and soothing vocal harmonies. Ghoulish makeup and standout track "Dead Girls Dance" certainly awarded the guys spookiest band of the night.
Holiday Shores followed, a band harder to pin down. Think Andy Summers plucking the strings for a Balearic dance pop band with David Byrne chic helming the ship. Even that doesn’t do it justice considering their soul and reggae knowledge explained through technical proficiency and electronic elements.
The female led shoegaze of Twin Sister has provided one of my favorite EPs this year. But either because I associate the band with a late night cool down or because Andrea’s voice really is that soothing and comfortable, the energy of the first two bands started to slip a bit with Twin Sister’s set. Not that there was anything wrong with the performance per se, but the smoke hazed dream pop couldn’t overcome my bedroom preference for the band. It’s hard to be too negative on a band that has two free EPs on their site though; give ‘em a listen and feel the world drift away.
Fully embracing the holiday spirit, instead of the Morning Benders we got Pharaoh Chu, Chef Chu, the Crocodile and Beer Guy. But damn if they didn’t sound just like them. An "Excuses" psych out at the beginning was the lone trick of the night. "Wet Cement" was the real opener followed by a stripped back version of the dancey "Cold War." The song lacked the driving acoustic guitar on record, but the live version was definitely appreciated; it’s nice to know the band continue to craft and alter their sound and not just play cover versions of their own songs on stage. "Promises," one of my favorite singles of the year, somehow managed to achieve even higher reverb than the studio version, expanding its sound out of the venue, through the bar and down Lincoln Ave. for the costumed throng on the street to behold. The vocal harmonies promised on record were perfected and even elaborated throughout the night. Big Echo dominated the setlist, but "Boarded Doors" and "Waiting for a War" from their debut Talking Through Tin Cans were thrown in "for the OG fans," compliments of the Pharaoh. Candy showers were abound and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s "Dreams" was quite a crowd pleaser. Closer "Excuses" brought the set full circle, with a crowd sing-along, an extended a capella breakdown and the spin of the disco ball only making the imminent build-up that much more powerful. And once everyone thought the set was done (because what could possibly follow that?), the band returned for one final treat, a new song called "Virgins." If there’s one thing John Wayne, Santa Claus and Honest Abe can all agree on, it’s that there was no better place to be in the city last night than that Morning Benders show.