Friday, October 9, 2015

Teen Daze - Heavenly Beat - Lance Neptune -- DC9 - Oct 8 2015

by John Miller

Lance Neptune - The first act on tonight’s bill was a one man band. With his Macintosh and mixing board he filled the room with compositions whose characteristics would be quite prominent tonight; chill. From what I little know about this type of performance, the compositions, the beats are simply preloaded onto a computer and played through amplifiers; any little adjustments being made by a mixing board. That’s not to say that this music isn’t difficult to make, far from it; I have been in many a basement and garage hovering over the shoulder of producers as they micromanage each and every sound.  That said it is difficult to really gauge what is going on behind that computer screen; as an audience we cannot see the effort and passion it takes to make these songs and it’s an interesting problem to have when the crowd is so sparse. I imagine with a larger more inebriated crowd, I would be able to really see the passion behind these pieces through the moving participants.

Like the music, the crowd was very chill and laid back tonight, the booths of DC9 filled with those taking in this very easy going music. Occasionally Lance would look towards the only corner with movement with a goofy smile, no doubt mugging for his friends as they enjoy the output and dance sparsely. Towards the end of the set the beats became more ambitious, the quiet mixed with the thumping bass. The only real issue I found with the set was it was difficult to tell when things ended; we were at the mercy of Neptune to let us know when to clap and sometimes dance.

Heavenly Beat - It feels as if this recent chillwave boom has been building for some time now. I can remember similar acts breaking through in the early 2000s. I wonder why it has taken so long for this particular genre to permeate the public’s conscience. One particular characteristic of this genre are the laidback, often quiet vocals that accompany the synth heavy pieces. Heavenly Beat is no exception; the first thing I notice are the vocals; they are not particularly strong, wispy, and often drowned out by the monstrous backing tracks that accompany this three piece. Heavenly Beat is more synth-pop than chillwave and the aforementioned backing tracks are really something to dance to, like really dance. Though the crowd has grown in size, they have yet to really move. But that isn’t to say that is the fault of the band as it may be too early in the evening for mindless movement; not enough alcohol has been consumed. The bass is thumping along with the backing piece and the occasional keyboard stabs remind me of an early Phoenix. A harmonica even made an appearance tonight and surprisingly it fit seamlessly.
Teen Daze - This band is doing it live tonight. While there may be some kind of backing somewhere (though I didn’t see any), there are keys and drums and it makes a difference right off the bat. The immediacy one has with a keyboard as opposed to backing or preloaded beats is significant. One can play games with the instrument, allowing the feel of the show to somewhat control the instrument’s output (though that could be said about any instrument). Immediately I notice games being played with cutoff and tone. The cutoff games compliment the music as the result produces long naturalistic sounds; breezes and light drizzle. Vocally these pieces are similar to Heavenly Beat; light, non-offensive and not particularly strong; though throughout the evening the vocals are layered with harmonies from several members of the band which help mask some of the weakness and ultimately they kind of remind me of Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Weird right? Who knew that a classic rock influence would make an appearance tonight with these electronic heavy bands? There is even some 70s Pink Floyd too. That’s not to say Teen Daze’s sound is steeped in this classic rock radio sound, more undercurrent than anything else. I too am reminded of early 2000 acts Zero 7 and to a lesser extent The Postal Service.  As the evening continues more and more couples arrive and make their way to the floor. This inoffensive music is easy to dance to; there isn’t anything too bombastic so one wouldn’t have to feel overtly self conscience about movement. A simple foot tap, swaying to and fro, not a lot to worry about because the chance of any uncoordinated movements rearing their ugly head is minimal at best. It’s safe, not many chances were taken tonight but who’s to say there is anything wrong with being comfortable.

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