On a frigid December 7 evening, the power duo El Ten Eleven provided enough thermal energy for the Wonder Ballroom crowd that ignited the sizzling techno-crafted guitar and bass work of Kristian Dunn and precision drumming of Tim Fogarty.
The duo heated up the evening with Transitions, from their lastest album of the same name. It provided the perfect foundation for the show as the duo built on the progressive sound of their intricate musical chemistry.
Transitions departs from their typically shorter, concise track length and ventured into a ten-plus minute journey, slowly building on a warm melodic intro that transitioned into syncopated techno burst, then a brief rock jam before sliding back into the crescendoed familiarity of the introduction.
The burgeoning EDM scene lured a predominately 20s-something crowd who were there to enjoy favorites from El Ten Eleven’s five album catalog, dating back to their 2005 self titled release. And the duo served up ample electronic grooves to get the crowd bopping and swaying.
Dunn and Fogarty reached back to their 2008 release, These Promises Are Being Videotape, and featured the rock side of their music with Jumping Frenchman of Maine, I Like Van Halen Because My Sister Says They Are Cool, and Adam and Nathan Totally Kick Ass. Both musicians deliver the goods, playing intensely and with precision.
Draped behind El Ten Eleven was a series of differently sized squares that glowed multicolored throughout the concert providing the appropriate visual and perfectly captured the geometry of their performance. Dunn artfully switched back and forth from his double neck guitar/bass, and solo bass, while Fogarty mechanically executed his playing from behind a full kit of drums.
The precision duo worked feverishly through their set. They were appreciative so many had braved the unusually cold Portland December evening to come see the band. Dunn then introduced, Nova Scotia, from their soon to be released upcoming EP in February, For emily. Almost played to perfection, Dunn admitted hitting a few hiccups after the song and rhetorically asked the crowd, “Why do we write such hard songs?”
Musical perfectionist are, simply never satisfied. The 75-minute, 13-song set proved Dunn and Fogarty’s intense dedication to their musicianship and craft, knowing that despite their proficiency they truly play for the enjoyment of the crowd.
The concert was opened friend and touring mate, solo drumming artist, Slow Magic. He joined Dunn and Fogarty for a spirited performance of El Ten Eleven’s Yellow Bridges. Before concluding the show, Dunn humbly announced encores were not their style but thanked the crowd again for coming before ending the evening with Connie.