Portland's Ceelay Deelay.
October 3, 2009 @ CIRQ
Sometimes a show comes along that is so good you feel sad for everyone who doesn't know what they're missing. This was one of those shows. A mere five dollars got you two fantastic up-and-coming Portland bands as well as Albuquerque's own, occasionally brilliant North America. This is how it went down:
North America kicked off the night an hour after the doors opened. The mood lighting was definitely set as they worked their way from a significantly textured burst of noise into one of the best songs off their album. Many of the older tunes were rearranged in innovative ways, which was refreshing, but their old timing problems made appearances as well. In North America's style of clinical looping, tempo perfection is a must, but it still seems to elude them. Still, the last two songs were a bright sign of things to come. The more electronic arrangements suit them and the synthesized bass progression on the last song was especially hypnotic. You can tell from their attitudes that North America considers themselves the best band in town, but sometimes it's hard to see exactly why. At any rate, on a bill of this quality, it was obvious that they came up short.
The biggest surprise of the night had to be a little band called Deelay Ceelay. It took them forever to set up their giant screen and PA but boy was it worth it. Their setup is unique and sounds amazing, with both members playing drums to backing tracks and synchronized projections. If you've ever seen a band with two drummers (Modest Mouse, The Warlocks), you know that watching two drummers in perfect synch is really cool to watch, but in this case that doesn't even do them justice. Strobe lights under the drums, a fog machine and awesomely-trippy projections all made it quite the experience. Also, the music! It may have been pre-recorded but the tunes were amazing (Caribou-esque is always good) and it sounded great through the PA. You can download their music on their website for free here to get a very incomplete idea of what you missed. They also sell a DVD with their projections and other videos. Check it out.
Last up was, of course, Starfucker. These four guys all play multiple instruments along with backing tracks to get those thick, dancy tones into your ears. The vocals were pretty much inaudible in the mix and the sound might not have been technically "great," but the energy was there and it was infectious. Starfucker is one of the newer hipster bands coming off the West coast right now that plays small shows and makes excellent use of live electronics, passionate energy, instrument-switching and loads of percussion (see also: Holy Fuck, Religious Girls). Of course, it was fun just to watch the band members, but even more fun to dance dance dance. In short, the show was everything you wished the MGMT gig had been like last year, and this show was a lot cheaper. Why does small and indie always win the race?