Friday, October 23, 2015

Teen - Widowspeak - Ava Luna -- Comet Ping Pong - Oct 22 2015

By John Miller

Ava Luna - The crowd hushed, as Ava Luna took the stage. I haven't seen Comet Ping Pong this packed in awhile. False starts, time changes and harmonies; it's an interesting style. I'm not sure if the songs have ended or are just beginning. This is all so confusing in the best way. Even the lead guitarist seems to be second guessing himself during breaks. Not only are the time signatures all over, occasionally there are these breakdowns that would make any hardcore band jealous. It's unexpected to say the least. The slow contemplative oohs and ahhs mixed with these extremely aggressive power chords remind me of the fake assuredness of the best noise rock bands. There is a lot of this back and forth throughout the set; things that you would usually think would never be partnered. Occasionally the keys come through as they try to find room in this ever crowded space. So many people dancing along; I guess that’s a little generous, as the changes keep us all guessing where they are going next. Great stuff to begin the show tonight, reminds me a lot of The Talking Heads.

Widowspeak - Arms outstretched, faces glued to touchscreens of a performance three feet in front of these masses: Widowspeak immediately captivates them. The set is very slow. The music isn’t necessarily sad, more like a nostalgic story told with a hint of melancholy. The bass is methodical, always thumping; never too fast. The drums are steady as the guitar, occasionally manic, finds the harmonies in those empty spaces. And even though the music is decidedly different than what came earlier, the crowd still drinks it up. This whole set feels as if it is a preamble to Halloween: doom and gloom, a cold clodding journey to our eventual meeting with whatever evil awaits us next weekend. This isn't something that may happen, it will; this is a slow, steady march into the darkness with occasional jump scares in the guise of behind the back guitar solos.
Teen - If I am to frame these acts in terms of Halloween; Ava Luna, a manic, insane experience; Widowspeak, a slow, heavy walk into darkness; the last act, Teen, could be best describe as a costume party with all your friends, Monster Mash playing in the background. They kind of remind me of Grimes and there are tons of great sounds coming from this five piece, especially the keys. I can hear pitch games, arpeggios, and lots of vocoder too. I am sure there was much more going on but unfortunately my phone died and didn’t have a back up for my notes. Regardless of my unpreparedness, I do not need notes to remember that Teen, feedback issues aside, played an exceptional set. One characterized by excellent sound design that got this capacity crowd moving in a different way.

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