Thu, Mar 20
CARIBOU at Lee’s Palace, Rating: NNN
I felt bad for Caribou main man Daniel Snaith. Every time he stepped up to the mic to sing over their throbbing, electro-psych wall of sound, he was met by squeals of feedback.
While the sound guy shook his head and tweaked knobs, the band soldiered on even though some of the crowd began to heckle. After about half a set of this trouble, some loaded douchebag screamed out, “I can’t hear you!” at the top of his lungs. Thanks, buddy – Snaith has a fucking PhD in mathematics. He doesn’t need you to tell him when something isn’t working properly.
Despite that unpleasantness, the vast majority of the crowd seemed willing to overlook these technical difficulties and left impressed by Caribou’s scenic-route songwriting, killer dual drumming and trippy projected visuals.
Fri, Mar 21
THE RAVEONETTES at the Opera House, Rating: NNNN
When the Raveonettes took the stage at the near-capacity Opera House, they had some ground to make up after the middling set of boring, static garage rock courtesy of NYC openers Black Acid. Launching into Hallucinations off their new disc, Lust Lust Lust, the Swedish duo (plus a touring drummer who plays standing up) threw the Good Friday party into gear.
Their dreamlike harmonies and driving rhythms had hipsters and oldsters politely rocking out shoulder to shoulder as vocalist Sune Rose Wagner fiercely proclaimed, “It’s fucking Easter!” Set highlights included That Great Love Sound (their biggest nod to the Jesus and Mary Chain) and the delightful You Want the Candy.
Balancing overwhelming washes of noise with addictive hook-filled riffs, the Raves put their garage guitars to good use, dispelling any memory of the uninspired openers.
Sat, Mar 22
CURSED at Lee’s Palace, Rating: NNN
Partly because the members used to be in bands like the Swarm, and partly because of what they’ve come to represent as a DIY post-hardcore metal outfit, the appeal of Cursed lies in the promise of a sweaty, dirty and raw punk show with no need of frills like lighting effects.
The music speaks for itself – this is a band whose strong suit is playing to the crowd – and though it was impressively heavy and tight, performing it at a place the size of Lee’s somehow took away from the impact.
It’s not like they didn’t try, though. Charging through a balanced set of old and new work, singer Chris Colohan and company did their best with a muddy sound mix that was all low end. The zealous few who moshed in front of the stage and screamed along might have thought this was the archetypal hardcore show, but as good as the band was live, a disconnect between the band and the audience was antithetical to the night.
CHROMEO at the Opera House, Rating: NNN
Wearing tank tops and too many colours at once, Chromeo fans eagerly stood in the snaking lineup for the sold-out show. A group of eerily earnest girls with fake flowers in their hands threatened to call the police to come and verify their presumably valid I.D. This tension between authenticity and artifice could describe Chromeo’s cocky live performance.
A dance duo grounded in hip-hop that samples emotive 80s artists like Hall & Oates, Chromeo definitely wear an air of intellectual irony. Onstage, they almost seemed to be laughing at how fanatically the crowd responded to their cheesy light show and simply layered dance jams. People were going ballistic, chanting their name at the beginning of every song.
When talk box/synth player Patrick Gemayel paused from chucking drumsticks at the crowd, his cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing was truly moving – although he cut it off before anyone could believe anything at all.