Lost in the Trees - A well armed arsenal of instruments is available to the seven members of this collective. The constants are a guy on acoustic guitar and voice along with a drummer. After that, there is bass, electric guitar, accordion, violin, two cellos, tuba, percussion, autoharp, french horn and probably one or two things I did not write down. At times, a note or two from some of these instruments was lost and the voice was a little thin in the first song, but mostly the music was rich with this tapestry of sounds. And for fairly intricate moves, there was a simple clear vision that easily drew me into their vibe. This was in the vein of the Decembrists and Elliott Brood, a couple of my favorites with possibly some Arcade Fire thrown in. A few songs were positively magic with some killer background vocals that brought out the psyche-folk feel as good as it gets in 2010. I could have done without the communal hippie vibe of having the band go off the stage, into the front rows of people and acoustically do their last song. I am sure it sounded better from there than where I was at this point of the set, but probably not much. These things work better in theory than reality. There are hundreds of people into your set, folks, time to learn how to share it with the masses.
Junip - I have seen Jose Gonzalez here before and have enjoyed his solo records, but frankly did not find myself headed back to him for further listening. Gonzalez is Swedish with Argentinian heritage with an interest in some of the finest UK guitarist/singers as far as I can tell. I was intrigued when I heard he formed this band with Tobias Winterkorn and Elias Araya, but was not sure I would attend. Thankfully, I did attend. The trio hit the stage with a couple of others in the band covering keyboards and extra percussion along with the usual (acoustic) guitar, bass, and drums. The first song had a Doors "Riders of the Storm" vibe with the tinkling high notes of the piano over the steady rhythms. As the songs went on, the bass and drums continued to lay down a flowing psyche rock foundation for Gonzalez and the others to put something on top of. The vocals were moving as well and the songs continually pulled me in. In addition to the Doors, the constant flowing nature of the songs reminded me of Kraftwerk or Neu! with the way their rhythms kept taking listeners along the highway (or Autobahn, obviously). Maybe if Nick Drake lived on and embraced Krautrock arrangements, this is the type of music we would have been hearing. Amazing work here--great songs and a more profound vision than the usual psyche-folk, psyche-rock kinds of bands these days. There was a lot here to swirl around in my mind for a long time to come, but I still hope they stay together and give me another dose some time soon.
Quote of the Night: "Shut-up!" "Yeah!" Two loud quotes from people near me who were fed up at the crowd noise during the moderately quiet songs of Junip. This just after I scribbled a note about the assholes should just stay downstairs at the bar. I really did not want to write about this again, but unless you want me to review classical music, or exclusively cover shows from the Birchmere, Blues Alley or the Strathmore, then try to do a better job of listening, folks. I used to be an advocate of free speech, but I am now switching over to the freedom to listen. I want my freedom to listen back. Please help me out. I promise I won't complain about your texting, because that means you are not talking and laughing loudly when I am trying to listen. It really is not that tough, folks.