Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Show review: El Ten Eleven at Bottom Lounge

Posted by Conor O’Hagan

Instrumental post-rock is not the most accessible of genres. Commonly associated with the epic darkness of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or the sultry sweeps of Explosions in the Sky, it rarely can be called forthright.

El Ten Eleven, however, are exactly that. In their Bottom Lounge show on April 29th they showcased their complex and multi-faceted compositions with unabashed Californian pomp and a glee in the simple act of playing music.

This is surprisingly intricate and undulating rock music for just a two man army - Kristian Dunn, with a fretless bass, some wonderfully nimble fingers and numerous looping pedals and drummer Tim Fogarty, who utilises a variety of pads and steady, pulsating beats.

Their songs are often wonderfully named ("I Like Van Halen Because My Sister Says They’re Cool" and "The Sycophants Are Coming! The Sycophants Are Coming!") and are always well-structured and entrancing, moving from likeness to The Sea and Cake to the more heavy toe-tapping of Ratatat or Errors.

"Indian Winter" begins as a Daft Punk jam but only climbs as it winds through a melodic maze before bursting into an obnoxious Justice party beat. The tribal-electronica support act, Lynx, joined the pair on stage for "My Only Swerving" the fan-favorite finale, to many happy cheers.

This is what modern dance halls should sound like. El Ten Eleven have both the punch and nuance necessary to keep themselves on the play lists of basement parties and in the earphones of head-bopping walkers everywhere.


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