Monday, November 2, 2015

Youth Lagoon - Moon King -- 9:30 Club - Nov 1 2015

Moon King - A little late but you can only do so much with a candy hangover. Two things; Moon King are a lot louder than I had expected. Immediately I am greeted with a wall of bright pop rock. It is certainly a significant change of pace from the dark sounds that we have been seeing recently. The long march to Halloween has finally ended. Secondly, 9:30 is empty. This isn't a slight towards the artists playing tonight but perhaps an indictment against how we all left whatever we had on the floor last night. The day after Halloween, especially one that lands on a Saturday, is rough.

It's quiet. That may seem obvious but with each piece; the crowd has become increasingly silent. The lead singer, Matt, has taken notice and calls us all out. He implores that tonight will be ‘chill’ as to not interfere with all the hangovers that are being recovered from. Despite all of our lackadaisical attitudes I am really enjoying this. And as I said earlier, it's a nice change as I was expecting something far different. Going into a lot of these shows I try not to be judgmental or form an opinion beforehand. I wasn't so successful tonight. I had assumed, incorrectly, that this would be another male/female EDM duo; quiet, sad, and contemplative. Vocally it couldn't be further from the aforementioned example. The two are clear, loud, and the harmonies match due in large part to Daniel’s falsetto. The two, Daniel and Maddy split singing but considering Daniel's range, sometimes I find myself looking up just to make sure. Maddy's guitar work is good; it’s full, switching cleanly between the upbeat and more complicated patterns when appropriate. It's not overtly complicated but it doesn't need to be. It does the job and if everyone wasn't so apathetic tonight, they would surely be dancing.

To be honest, it has become kind of awkward between songs, as the attitude of this crowd seems to be taking a toll on them. Daniel still checks in making sure that we are all still alive and the response is tepid at best. Perhaps I am relying too much on my personal opinion but it was a great set despite the audience.  Occasionally the bassist, takes to the keyboards to add an additional layer. Although not unexpected the occasional triplets meld well.

As far as comparisons; since they rely so heavily on vocals, I am reminded of Kill Hannah and Silversun Pickups. They are definitely radio friendly and I am surprised that they don't have more of a following. Let's be honest though, when was the last time any of us listened to that antiquated platform.

Youth Lagoon - Even between sets the crowd is suspiciously quiet. The music is barely audible, while the majority of those on the second level sit as they nurse their beverage of choice. Though as Youth Lagoon take the stage they seem to be somewhat more receptive. Compared to Moon King before them, Youth Lagoon relies heavily on Trevor's keyboards. He definitely leads, as his surprisingly simple keys finally get some of this crowd moving. It's surprising; so far the majority of what I am hearing from the keys is piano. Even though that sounds derogatory, it shouldn't be taken as such; I assumed that this would be more reminiscent of effect heavy bands like Tyco or Neon Indian. While there are patches here and there, it's that piano that is leaned on for the majority of the set.

The drums are great. They too seem to lean on a particular sound rather than pattern. The constant thumping of the tom is an excellent choice when paired with the more traditional keys. It's sweeping and adds a Hollywood feel to these songs; the calm before an inevitable storm. Hints of Rufus Wainwright seep through, though only occasionally as the quiet quickly makes way for some very aggressive changes. And then the bass starts moving and the snare remains steady. It's low key dance, lots of fuzz. While we all wait for it to drop, it does in a most unexpected way; the bassist moves to the drums as extra hands are needed for the crashes, the guitar slowly builds, and Tony runs unencumbered, hands raised as he frantically tries to get the crowd excited. Then as quickly as it began, it ends.

This frantic back and forth, manic. The changes are unexpected; it gets so quiet I can hear the dishes in the kitchen drop into the sink as the water bounces off them. An excellent comedown from a hectic weekend even if the bros in front of me are checking out their fantasy stats.

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