Chris Brokaw - We begin with Codeine's drummer going solo with guitar and microphone. I did not get into Codeine much back in the day but had respect from afar. And unlike many drummers (and bass players) wanting to move further upstage, he has made an excellent decision. He's got an expressive voice and a surprisingly deft guitar style. He plays folk parts, with snaky little rock runs in between the main bits, all with a sensitive touch. He clicks on a few switches and bathes the crowd in shoegaze swirls which is a good lead-in for the headliner tonight. There is a Meic Stevens quality to the electric guitar here which is a very good thing. I would gladly pay to see him play solo next time around or see what he does with a band, as this is quality music here.
Mono - Fourth time around for me with this pleasing quartet from Japan. They always manage some of the more careful building action sequences you will find. It reminds me of the BME writing style where you careful plan beginning, middle, and ending with rising and falling action sequences in a manner of sine curve. Mono has these patterns in much of their music. The newer material tonight seems to evoke classical music and compositions even more than in the past, which also stresses dynamics and building themes and such. But it is easiest to sit back and drift with the sound and let you mind go. That works best here. There were some nice roaring guitar moments as well, which never hurts anyone. The only negative is on the visual side of things. The two guitarists spend almost the entire time on the floor and the drummer was even hard to see with what had to be the tallest crowd I have ever been in. He had the gong, though, so that was easy to see and hear. So much of the focus is on bassist Tamaki Kunishi who sometimes will hide behind a keyboard. She has a gentle swaying motion while playing bass which does add to the hypnotic effect of the music, so there is that at least. At just under 90 minutes, this set flowed by neither too fast or too slow, but in character and with great style. I'll be back for a fifth time when they come back to these shores.
Quote of the Night: Chris Brokaw... "Last time I was here, I was playing guitar with Thurston Moore and he threw up right here in the middle of the stage."