Last night I went to see a show that was part of the multi-day Tomorrow Never Knows winter music festival. Basically the premise is to get a bunch of indie bands together and help people fight their “it’s winter and this sucks” feelings. I went with two friends of mine, braving the negative 12 degree cold weather*.
*On a side note, we were discussing how one of Chris’ dog walking clients had asked him to put the “hipster coat” onto this lady’s dog which looked like the material that this guy right next to us was wearing in hat form. We all felt that this was something that a person who is either from Minnesota, Wisconsin, or cuts logs for a living would wear and not so much a hipster style.
We had not heard of the first 3 bands so were a little excited to hear something unbiased. So first things first though, the three opening bands in order of performance.
The Poison Arrows: Think of what would happen if Tool only studied the musical scores of John Carpenter films… and then played loudly on huge drums. I don’t think I need to see them again.
Alla: This band seemed to rely on shoegaze jams far too much, without having enough forward direction. They did have some interesting builds in their songs, but I felt like the vocals were both too hard to hear, and swallowed by way too much reverb. Ultimately, they just didn’t know when to climax and end the song.
Dissapears: Loud, washy, reverby British vocals; blah.
Finally, Department of Eagles: The band had a minimal stage setup, with small amps, shared swapping of guitars and an unassuming, almost awkward presence. Clearly this band was very good with dynamics, which was a nice change from the continually echoing noise of the previous groups.
The interplay between the members was subtle and maintained the sound of the album In Ear Park; it was nice to hear that they can actually play what they’ve recorded instead of overly relying on too many studio fixes. The lead singer Daniel Rossen’s voice was clear, and coupled nicely with the backup vocals from the drummer.
Dept. of Eagles’ drummer added a lot to the group: I am kind of a sucker for drummers who play with mallets and know when to lay out for (and turn off the snare) during a quieter sections.
Strangely, the band actually ran out of material to play leaving the audience slightly puzzled with the ending. He said something along the lines “Thanks for letting us play” and then with the audience expecting something else he said “really we don’t have any more songs.. this is awkward.” I think they just replaced the bass player and it’s possible they had not had the chance to beef up their set yet.
Oh, and the man with the red hat turned out to be the drummer, so maybe it IS a hipster hat…
Here is a video of Dept. of Eagles playing “No One Does It Like You” from Bell House, in Brooklyn NY in October of last year: