Monday, March 24, 2008

I Get Older, They Stay The Same Age

Two consecutive nights at Kilby Court does weird things to you. Being surrounded by so much jailbait not only turns you into a resident Matthew McConaughey-from-Dazed-and-Confused, it affects your taste in music too. Cases in point: Beach House on Friday night and Tokyo Police Club on Saturday night.

Beach House is a pretty band. They have a pretty singer with a pretty voice who makes pretty sounds on her pretty keyboard–but it wasn’t beautiful. Now, I have no problem with slow music (shoegazing, dream pop, or however else you can euphemize it), but I am a firm believer in the notion of The Performer. If bands aren’t going to present their live show as a spectacle, then it should be incredibly moving—physically, mentally, etc. It seems that this should be no problem for a band like Beach House, whose new album, Devotion, is filled with lovely, haunting melodies. Despite some lovely moments from singer Victoria Lagrand (“enough of this Goth stuff, here’s a happy song”), I didn’t feel moved enough to endure standing in the sold-out Kilby crowd.

Afterwards, a friend and I were discussing the hype machine that produces a lot of buzz bands these days. He said that it felt like Beach House was peddled too aggressively to the indie crowd, that Pitchfork told us to like them. I can’t really argue because, as pretty as Beach House is, I can’t imagine the band would have garnered a sold-out crowd otherwise.

But then again, I like My Chemical Romance. Non-ironically.

Saturday night in SLC was the kick-off of Tokyo Police Club’s US tour, fresh from their abridged performances in SXSW—and they played like it. Feeding off the crowd (“I want to go around the room and write everyone’s name down” said singer Dave Monks, in polite-Canadian fashion), the band ripped through an hour set of New Wave/Strokes-inspired material from their two EPs and their forthcoming LP. They even had a synchronized light show on the small stage–a treat that’s rare for the lo-fi charm of Kilby.

Perhaps it’s a testament to my musical taste/intelligence (and a vague explanation for my reaction to the Beach House show) but I’m such a sucker for light shows.

The crowd’s enthusiasm was infectious, especially when their encore had Monks screaming “Hello operator? Give me the president of the world!” into the microphone—the floor began to tremble with people jumping/dancing. One cute, dancing girl accidentally bumped into me and mouthed “hi.” I weighed the odds of her being over 18 and figured that she probably wasn’t.

Don’t pull a McConaughey, Bradford. Keep focused on the light show.

(Ryan Bradford)


  1. It's that very reason why I don't bother reading Pitchfork. Go watch some local bands next time. There are some local acts in every genre who can blow out-of-towners away, and they never get any credit, let alone grandstanding from fans at gigs. But hey, that's just my opinion.

    Screw Pitchfork. Next time grab a random list of shows on a free day, throw a mental dart at the page, and just go!

  2. Is that "the hype machine", or "The Hype Machine? Could be an important distinction. ;)

  3. Pitchfork hasn't been relevant in awhile. I'm actually surprised people still value their opinions.


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