Friday, March 1, 2013

Efterklang - Jherek Bischoff - Spirit Animal -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Feb 28 2013

Spirit Animal - Earlybirds were greeted by a headline quality band right at the start of this loaded bill tonight. This is the fourth time I have seen this hard touring energetic bunch and they blasted out another fine thirty minutes here tonight. They have their energy working tonight and their attack seems all the crisper with a great guitar crunch as they work through their brand of danceable funk rock. I say their brand, as they inject keyboard fills, psyche touches, and plenty of rock moves into the formula. The vocal lines are in your face, yet welcome and build things up while making a connection. Four times running and I am still digging into and just plain digging this music. They do it the right way and hopefully their hard touring will keeping adding to their already significant fan base.

Jherek Bischoff - At first I thought this was a band who chose a name to take a dig at a failed wrestling promoter from many years back, but silly me, this is a real person who has made an awful lot of music over the last fifteen years. He has been with Dead Science and even collaborated with David Byrne. Tonight, he sings some, while switching from bass to ukulele and percussion. Aside from his tuxedo, it is the backing band that is the real surprise. He has a formal string quartet behind him, who play a lot of excellent parts giving great color and flourish to his melodic patterns. the crowd is surprisingly quiet and into this tonight (he thanks them, even), but that is not terribly surprising as Efterklang will bring out a lot of the smarter music lovers and weed out the trend followers. I am glad to see this went over so well tonight, as it was a breath of creativity in the musty rock club air, which is needed once in a while--so different, yet perfectly fitting in between the two bands tonight.
Efterklang - It has always been difficult for me to find the pulse of this Danish band's music. Perhaps they are to chamber pop, what King Crimson is to progressive rock. Clearly this is catchy music, but they do so many interesting things in a quiet, controlled manner that they rise above anything simple and predictable. Yet, they have some of the more comforting sounds you will here. No matter how you try to break it down, they had it working tonight with Casper Clausen leading the way on vocals. He is assisted by some core members and others to augment the live sound which includes drums, bass, guitar, a couple of keyboard stations, and some lovely female backing vocals. There is mystery and drama in the music and I get this weird thought that maybe this is close to what Nick Cave may sound like if he came from the happiest country in the world (actually Denmark lost its spot to Norway recently and Australia is high on the list truth be told). The room is nearly full and embrace this music in full as the band plays nice clusters of songs from albums throughout their recent history. This is not a band I turn to often when I reach for a CD, but I do find it important to regularly take in their music and am quite happy I was able to do so tonight.

Quote of the Night; Jherek Bischoff (whose patter was fun all night) and I dedicate this to the late Sterling Hayden... "I spent a long time sailing around the world and shit."

The story continued as he was starving for three days and finally came upon a remote shore where the first guy he saw was watching 'Seinfeld'.


Ian Plenderleith said...

Nice review - I missed the first band, but I'm with you completely on the last two acts, and have had Efterklang melodies floating through my head all day. It's worth giving huge credit to the Rock and Roll Hotel for not only (mostly) marshalling great sound in such a narrow, low venue, but for putting on three quality acts for 12 bucks.

David Hintz said...

Thanks. I find Efterklang hard to write about, but easy to like. Yes, the sound was spot on. The Black Cat is even more challenged for the same reasons you cite. Fortunately, the R'n'R Hotel had their main sound man, Dennis, there that night and he is one of the best in town. Efterklang had their guy on the Board for their set, but they worked together well.

Megan said...

Saw Jherek Bishchoff at MONA FOMA in Hobart this year - working with the backing ensemble for Neil Gaiman, then at the big bushfire fundraiser concert they did at the end of the festival. On that night he was on stage with Neil Gaiman, David Byrne, Brian Ritchie, and a whole bunch of other people. I'd never heard of him before and am fascinated by him now. Glad you got to discover him too.

David Hintz said...

That is really cool when someone is doing an opening set in a moderate club in DC one night, and just before that he was in Tasmania playing with David Byrne, Gaiman, etc. Love the connections--Thanks, Megan.