Last Saturday was Record Store Day, so I went down to M-theory to say hi to David who was helping out as a clerk. I wanted to play Menomena in Foosball, but my friends who are good at Foosball don’t like Menomena and vice versa. I checked out a couple of the in-store performances and scavenged the used CD and record bins. I haven’t done that in ages, and it used to be a favorite pastime of mine.
Later on, Heather and I went out for Date Night burgers, then checked out the Tango Del Rey in preparation for Monday’s show. They’re going to start having a weekly jazz jam there, so that should be fun. By the time we got the Casbah, we had just enough time to buy a Menomena T-shirt before Writer started.
I’ve seen them a couple times with Swim Party, but they always had guests playing, and a different electric guitarist. This was my first time hearing them in their normal line-up.
Not bad, but needs a bass player.
With a band name like Writer, I’d expect to be blown away by the lyrics. The only recording of theirs I have is one song on a split 7″, and it’s just pretty repetitive lyrically, so maybe I just haven’t heard enough. But, I hope their album is better in that respect so they’re not just some….
…faceless band. Ha, I just made that UP! (Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of “The Critic” reruns. Great show!)
Calico Horse was up next, and although I’ve heard a lot of buzz about them, I didn’t know a thing about them or their music.
The trumpet player only sat in on one or two songs, and I liked what he added to the music.
Since it’s been over a week since this show, I’m having a hard time remembering exactly what I thought of this band when I saw them. I can see how both they and Writer were a good match for this bill, especially how these guys (and girl) take a sparse pop sound and add some electronics to get a dreamy, slightly ominous spin on things. That’s not to say that both openers sound the same, I’m just better at hearing similarities than differences.
While not quite the kind of music that floats my boat, I’d check them out again if they were on a good bill. I know there’s plenty of people who think this is one of the better local bands right now.
I’m trying to remember how I got into Menomena, and I think it was from seeing Natalie shoot them last time.
And it looks like we stood in just about the same spot too.
This is one of the best, most interesting bands I’ve had a chance to see this year. The songs are perfectly crafted masterpieces which manage to be catchy and strucurally skewed at the same time. They’re full of little twists and turns that add instead of take away from the overall sound. They thanked the crowd for not going to Coachella.
Plus, it was great fun to see how they pull off the songs on the record in a live setting.
Their albums are full of inrticate little sounds, and while they couldn’t do it all, they managed to make them sound even fuller than the albums by changing instruments and using a laptop. All three are strong singers too, and it was fun to hear how they split up the vocal and music duties.
We met Danny, the drummer, when we bought a t-shirt, and he’s a very nice guy, although I guess he’s the worst foosball player in the band since he didn’t make their team. On stage, he’s like Thelonius Monk, constantly getting up and walking around, and looking like he’s kind of not all there, but when he’s at the kit, he knows exactly what to do. At one point, his finger started bleeding, so he rubbed the blood under his eyes. I was stuck on the far side of the stage, so I couldn’t get any decent close-ups of him, but their myspace has a nice polaroid of it.
This guy played the keys, guitar, and xylophone as well as many of the vocal duties. Not the most expressive guy on stage, he basically had the same faint smile on his face the whole time.
The bass duties were handled by this guy, on the P-bass, baritone sax, and Fatar bass pedals. When he hit them, I got a nice rush from the subwoofers that were right in front of us.
Heather thinks they sound like Peter Gabriel, which I don’t see at all, except for maybe the quirky poppiness. This was the most enjoyable set I’ve seen at the Casbah in a long time, and it was a blast getting to share it with a sold-out house.