AM - AM is a singer/songwriter/guitarist who is accompanied by a keyboardist and a percussionist. I immediately hear dreamy pop and continue to listen to whether it will go deeper into shoegaze. It may have veered there a bit, but it stayed in closer to pop with some nice psyche undertones. The percussionist did a great job combining hand-hit bongos with mallet-struck floor toms along with other cymbals and such. It was a nice backdrop for these excellent pop songs. The thing that really made the set was the slight dark undercurrent of the keyboards countering the guitar melodies and hopeful dreamy vocals. Many acts go for the lush shoegaze or dreampop sound which is certainly fine when they succeed. But I find songs like these to be far more compelling with the contrasting elements underneath successfully pulling the song together on the whole. A really good set that the crowd who were slowly filling the club seemed to enjoy as much as I did.
Air - I was thinking between sets how hard it is to get two acts that only have five letters between them. A good punk show could be had with my good friends, DOA playing with DI. Maybe Om could open for Dio in the metal world, but you won't see this too often. Wordplay aside, Air is an electronica duo from Paris, France. I am instantly pleased that they have a live drummer on tour with them. Perhaps it is just me, but it seems there are a lot more electronic artists veering away from exclusively relying on drum machines for live shows which I think is a very good thing. I may be way off, as I don't follow electronica thoroughly, but I know I like the trend I see in my world. One of the duo stayed on keyboards and most vocals while the other rotated heavily between bass and acoustic guitar with the occasional keyboard and added vocals throughout. This was also heavily in the dream pop realm, but really excited me with a lot of progressive moves and even a jazz feel at times. A few of the faster numbers had motortik style drumming and along with Kraftwerk moves, there was a lot of krautrock elements here. At first, I thought it would merely be a decent act, but by the end of the set, they won me over easily. Again, the diversity of sounds and styles was the winning formula. The songs were accessible with some killer hooks and were tough to resist. Great show.
Quote of the Night: from the thickly accented Air guitarist... "The next song we will sing together. ok? It's a French song, you all speak French, right?" Cute, since the only vocals in the song were whistles.