Thursday, February 4, 2016

Young Galaxy - Dias -- Black Cat - Feb 3 2016

by John Miller

Dias - Resonance is funny thing, it can add to an already well established tone, or it can send audiences fleeing, hands covering bloody ears. Dias begins tonight leaning on significant amounts of resonance and at times it becomes overwhelming. Considering their avant garde, experimental bent it is not surprising.

Dias, DC locals, is a two piece; vocalist and everything else. There isn't much up on stage but fuck if they aren’t loud. Perhaps some volume control should be considered to give the vocalist some room. Sometimes it’s a chore picking her out behind all these layers. That's not to say that she is missing, just that some of the random noises spilling out of the rig tend to obscure the strongest element of the group.

As far as a general sound, Dias is by far one of the strangest acts I have seen and I say that with the utmost respect. It's odd in the best way; forcing off notes, strange delays, and pitchiness, but making those elements fit within the confines of the composition. And making those elements fit is not easy to do. With all the interesting design choices, I am surprised their timing is relatively safe. The Back Room has filled up nicely and as with most shows, the opening act has the difficult task of winning over what can sometimes be a hostile environment but Dias succeeds.

Young Galaxy - Young Galaxy is a far safer choice. A lot of the experimental is gone from earlier. While generalities remain (dancing, keys, layers) they are far more approachable. I was worried I was in for another chillwave snorefest, but this is far better. They are confident in both their compositions and ability. Generally I find that those, especially those subscribing to chillwave, tend to hide behind any number of random noises, mumbling their way to completion. Young Galaxy, while not particularly talkative between pieces is fun. People clap in rhythm and dance along; no contemplating the color of the cement floor while questioning how life has so royally fucked you, just a good time. I hear bits and pieces of Madonna, Kate Bush, and The Revolution. It isn't one overarching influence, just parts; melodies, vocal inflections, keys. Enough to know where they are coming from but not so much that it defines them. Those influences are decidedly eighties but the tone of the drums, the sound design and arpeggios are much more contemporary. I am reminded a little of a less obvious Javiera Mena.

This is one of those shows that would have completely flown over my head. It is somewhat out of my wheelhouse and even though they have been around for almost a decade, I had no idea that they existed; though I blame that mostly on my age. Well written, well performed show. Count me a convert.

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