Saturday, March 12, 2016

Junior Boys @ Neptune Theatre (3/11/2016)

So, apparently my new thing is intentionally missing the opening band(s) at concerts.  OK, maybe this is not really a new thing, but I've been doing a pretty good job of it lately.  Despite the late 9:00 PM start of this show, I arrived around 10:30 in a plot to miss the two openers.  I was a bit worried that I would miss some of Junior Boys, especially since (as usual) I had a hard time finding parking around this venue, but my timing was on point - I arrived between the second opener and the main act.

The audience was significantly less crowded than either of the previous two shows that I had seen here, so I took this chance to check out the seating on the balcony level.  The result was that I had a comfortable and relaxing viewing/listening experience.

Musically, there weren't too many surprises.  Junior Boys is a pretty small act, so the stage setup was pretty low key.  They played a mix of old and new, and the songs off the latest album (Big Black Coat) came off a bit better than expected - so far I'm digging the album less than its predecessors.  I did find it interesting that the live drummer had a kit that was a mix of normal and electronic elements - the bass drum being a noteworthy electronic component.  Also, the guy on the keyboard/mixer didn't seem to contribute very much to the music, despite his attempts at rapidly turning his attention among various switches and knobs.

Rating: 3.8/5

Thursday, March 10, 2016

MUTEMATH @ The Showbox (3/8/2016)

MUTEMATH is a fun act to see live.  They are energetic, even as they advance in years.  They bring a pretty elaborate stage and light show, especially for the smaller venues that they tend to play.  And their music ain't half bad either.

For this particular show, they once again played a good mix of old and new.  The beginning was mostly new-ish, and then they took it old school for a few songs.  As is to be expected, Vitals got the largest representation, being their latest album and all (as well as the name of the tour)In total they apparently played a whopping 22 songs (though I think that count is actually low by 1), the vast majority of which I enjoyed.  The encore wasn't really an encore, in that the band didn't fully leave the stage between, but I have zero gripes with that.  They closed things out with the customary "Reset"/"Typical" comboSide note: further research indicates that they played a very similar setlist every show during this tour.

All in all, this was a more than satisfactory show.  And after Animal Collective, it restored my faith that concerts can actually be enjoyable.

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Animal Collective @ Neptune Theatre (3/4/2016)

I'm realizing a couple of things about Animal Collective...

First, I don't really like them live.  This show was even less satisfying than the last time I saw them.  Part of that was their setlist - they played a lot of songs from their disappointing new album, and none of their songs that I really like.  Part of that is due to their indulgently long intros and outros to seemingly every single song (I can appreciate transitions between songs, but if you know how I feel about extended solos and noodling you will understand why I think what they do is way too much).  Part of it is the chaotic cacophany that is their performance - sometimes it's hard to discern the underlying melody even if I'm familiar with the song.  And part of it is that apart from the drummer and the singing it's impossible to tell what any of them is doing in terms of creating the music/sounds - three knob twiddlers does not make for captivating performance.

Second, there's only one of their albums that I really like front to back - Merriweather Post Pavilion.  I like some songs on their other albums, but I guess I don't think any of them is really that good.  Hmmm.

Rating: 2.8/5