Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Out and About: Club/Concert Reviews

I haven't done any reviews of this sort on the blog so... here goes:

Carl Craig and Lindstrom (live) at Mezzanine.

I had a lot of fun at this show. The turnout was excellent and the club had a good, energetic vibe the whole night. Lindstrom came on first and did a laptop set of originial material with live keyboards. The talented Norwegian has created quite a buzz during the past couple of years with his updated take on the Giorgio Moroder "space disco" sound. If you're wondering what that sounds like you can listen to a lot of his tracks on Beatport. His set was decent; he played most of his best songs and created some interesting sound effects but I feel like he let many of the songs drag out for too long, which negatively impacted the energy on the dancefloor. The crowd wanted to go crazy but he kinda just teased everybody instead.

Detroit Techno pioneer Carl Craig came on next and proceeded to tear the roof off the place, making the crowd whoop and holler until the end. Mr. Craig played a nice mixture of his own work with other artists, blending it all together cleanly. He leaned more towards melodic tracks, which I really enjoyed because a lot of tech DJ's seem intent on keeping things hard and banging these days. This guy has been in the game for a long time and really understands how to work a dancefloor properly.

All in all, it was a good night out and I feel like I got my money's worth. My only complaint is that Mezzanine's sound system is in dire need of an upgrade. It only sounds good when you stand in certain spots and for electronic music this isn't a positive because you miss out on a lot of critical frequencies.

Cougar at 12 Galaxies

Cougar is a talented post-rock band hailing from Madison, Wisconsin. Their completely instrumental and melodic style is inspired by bands like Tortoise and The Sea and Cake- not surprising given that Tortoise drummer John McEntire produced Cougar's new album. Despite similarities to the aforementioned groups, Cougar has managed to develop a distinct sound of their own. I managed to catch Cougar at the dumpy, yet lovable, 12 Galaxies in the heart of the Mission. The crowd was pretty sparse due to the unfortunate fact that it was a Monday but those who made it out were treated to an excellent performance. The drummer started things off with a wash of cymbals interspersed with effects from their electronic musician. After this, the guitar players began their classical-influenced assault. I love the sound of their guitars, it's probably the first thing that will catch many people's interest. Their bass player was solid but didn't figure into the overall picture as strongly as the guitars or the drums. I liked how they utilized electronic sounds; they were never cheesy and actually added a lot to the performance. Their drummer is amazing, he laid down some extremely complex rhythms without overpowering the rest of the band.

I'm glad that post-rock is still alive and kicking as a genre. Many people think it begins and ends with Tortoise but I definitely feel there's room for some new ideas on the scene. I enjoy instrumental music and bands like Cougar manage to develop a strong voice without having a vocalist.

Check out Cougar's new album, Law. You can find it on itunes, emusic, or at most record stores.

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