Monday, September 29, 2008

Concert Review: The Dodos at Sonar - 9.28.08

I thought Baltimore's music scene was supposed to be so hip, especially compared to DC's. Why didn't this show sell out? The Dodos are a damn good band, and they were playing at a very intimate venue for not much money. What else do you want, Baltimore?!

The openers for this show were a surprising treat. Wye Oak, a duo from Baltimore, played some good old timeless electric guitar rock music that borrowed a little from Tom Petty and Sheryl Crow. Their songs were very well written and well performed. I'll certainly be checking them out. The second band, AU, were a duo too, but they didn't borrow from any classic rockers. That band consisted of a really talented pianist and drummer who couldn't be bothered with conventional things like melody and time. I commented to a friend after their first song that they sounded like Animal Collective if they sucked. That was harsh. They definitely grew on me as the show went on. I amend my statement to, "They're like Animal Collective if they were slightly less good." And I love Animal Collective. I find myself comparing a lot of bands to them, and I should stop doing that. I guess what I really mean is that they are kind of out there, psychedelic, and have a lot of strange noises and rhythms melded into an interesting and sometimes beautiful sound.

Then came the Dodos, the third duo of the night! Ok, they had a third guy join in on half of their songs. They played a short set because Meric Long, the singer/guitarist was sick with mono. They didn't even play an encore. But what they did play was enough to convince me I was overly critical of them in my review of their album, Visiter. These 2 (sometimes 3) have some SERIOUS instrumental skills. I wouldn't have thought 2 people could make a sound so full, especially the percussion. The guitar was precise and lively. The drums were even more precise, and even more lively. The singing was better than I expected, especially considering Long's illness ("creepy crawleys in his throat"). I'm wondering whether the off-pitch parts of the album were the result of poor standards of the producer or band in the studio.

The highlight of the show was "Jodi", which was their last song. Before the song, Long said, "I do apologize, but this is gonna be our last song. It's called Jodi, and it's in the key of H." It was just as fast and frantic as it is on the album. I guess I'm happier to have seen them go balls to the wall for 45 minutes than to play a subpar, less energetic set of regular length. I felt like I got more quality show for my money because of the openers anyway. I can't wait til they come by again when they don't have mono.

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