Last night's show with Au & WHY? was one of those cases when the venue was an integral part of the overall experience. Both bands elicit such raw experiences it is entirely fitting to see them in the informal setting The Church provides. Au took the stage in the basement of The First Unitarian Church [and yes it is the prototypical "church basement," wood paneling and all] and immediately tore into their undefinable psych-folk-rock set. They led with a bass heavy version of Ida Walked Away that pulsated and built to epic proportions then tipped right into Boute a ditty which leans towards the lighter side of their repertoire . The thought that went into the set list was evident as their show unfurled.
Playing songs old and new Dana (drums) and Luke (every other instrument you can imagine) took turns displaying their astounding musical ability. Dana is an athletic percussionist often standing to work over his expanded kit. When listening to their record you don't fully realized the numerous roles he is taking on with his drums, often picking up the bass line or supporting Luke's rhythms. When you see them live however, you recognize the true brilliance of Au's approach to music.
Luke's arrangements, despite their intricate layers, are incredibly fluid. Lending them a true sense of experimentalism. Regardless of which instrument he is wielding you have a sense he is perpetually exploring its full potential. Always pushing for a distinct sound to add to the mix. The two new songs they played suggest their next album will be a tad more dramatic and I cannot wait to see the scenery it paints.
Why?'s set melded seamlessly with the vibe Au established. They are smooth, real smooth and immediately chilled out the audience with their genre defying set. Beginning with their mellow rap on The Hallows and rolling into a set that selected heavily from Eskimo Snow (their most recent album) as well a Fugazi cover. The crowd, and this girl, loved it all.
The stage presence of the entire crew was incredible easy. They have the energy of an electronic act with the rootsy grooves of some of the finest jam bands. The bass lines were deliciously juicy. One of the characteristics of Why? I enjoy the most is their ability to use bass and hooky electro riffs to soothe people into really listening to their fantastic lyrics. There was something for everyone to enjoy in last night's performance. They absorbed the appreciation of the crowd and, in return, provided an musical experience I would solidly categorize as addictive. The two song encore was a most perfect conclusion to the evening. I consider it a privilege to have been part of such a divine show.
Ida Walked Away - Au
This Blackest Purse - Why?