Thursday, May 13, 2010

Concert Review: Caribou @ Rock & Roll Hotel

Caribou @ Rock and Roll Hotel
May 10, 2010
(above photo not from this show)

Caribou’s Dan Snaith has a Ph.D. in mathematics. A little nerdy sounding, maybe, but that didn’t stop him from rocking a sold out show at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Monday night.
Led off by Toro Y Moi (who proudly announced the show as their “seventh or eighth” gig), Caribou played a dozen songs, three quarters of which came from their April released album Swim. Strobe lights and a swirling video projection background set an appropriate atmosphere to accompany the electronic, pulsating, synthesized rhythms. The flannel-and-skinny-jeans-clad crowd swayed and bounced along to the hypnotic beats of “Sundialing” and “Bowls,” cheering for the familiar beats of favorites like “Odessa” and “Sun.” Repetitive (in a good way) lyrics from “Odessa” and “Found Out” melt into the enveloping drone of electric guitar and beats of the drum kit, the ethereal percussion of the words outweighing their poetic value (although if you listen, the lyrics are shouldn’t be dismissed: “Taking the kids, driving away / Turn around the life she let him siphon away”). The encore, “Barnowl,” from their 2005 release, The Milk of Human Kindness, added historical depth to the show and rounded out the mainly new set list. 

The music rarely, if ever, completely stopped, creating a flow of complexly composed songs that left me feeling euphoric and contemplative, lonely and enthralled. Looking around at the expressions on the other faces in the crowd, I could tell that I wasn’t alone in my awe and enjoyment. I don’t know how they did it exactly—it probably has something to do with Snaith’s Ph.D.—but with Caribou’s consistently well-crafted and mesmerizing music, it’s really no wonder the concert was sold out.

-- Emma Forster
"Regional Rotations," Wednesdays 2-4 on WGTB

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