Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Neon Neon at the Viper Room
DeLoreans? Check. Keytars? Check. Airhorn? Check. Double neck bass and guitar? Check. Moogerfooger pedals? Check. Dance Party? Check. I honestly expected the kitchen sink to make an appearance as the Viper Room was simply out of control on Monday night.
My amazement of the two neon trimmed Delorean sports cars in front of the Viper Room unfortunately caused me to miss the Last Days of April. I listened to a few songs on their myspace page and it sounded slightly like Dinosaur Jr. and this was before I glanced down their page and saw Dinosaur Jr. listed as one of their top friends. Last Days of April will be back in Los Angeles next week with shows at Crash Mansion and the Knitting Factory.
Oppenheimer maybe a veiled reference to Robert Oppenheimer as their music was radioactive. It was fitting to see them on St. Patrick's Day as they are from Belfast, Ireland and they brought some good spirits and songs with them. I was already intrigued by the slick Roland Juno-6 that they had plugged into a Digitech Talker with occasional assistance from their Minimoog Voyager. "Saturday Looks Bad To Me" was pure audio bliss with a vocoder refrain and plenty of guitar hooks that immediately made you stomp your feet in time. Oppenheimer was a sampler plate of musical influences from the Rentals, that dog, Kraftwerk, and the Pixies. The fact that Shaun Robinson (Drums/Vocals) pulled out the cowbell and had an actual airhorn solo during their set had me smiling from ear to ear. Oppenheimer has a new album coming out in May cleverly entitled "Take The Whole Midrange and Boost It". I hope they come back on tour to promote the album because some of the other tunes they played were extremely catchy.
I last caught up with Jim Noir in late 2006 when he dropped by Spaceland. Jim Noir is gearing up for the release of his self titled second album on April 8th. Alan Roberts (Guitars/Vocals) is the mastermind behind his Jim Noir moniker and effortlessly blends in various sounds and musical styles into his own tasty sonic stew that reminds me of Beck. I still frequently listen to his first album "Tower Of Love" as it is packed with well crafted songs like "My Patch" and "Turbulent Weather". Jim played a handful of new tunes and was using his Microkorg as a vocoder to infuse flakes of electronica into the songs. I was happy he played "Computer Song" from his first album as it was played in all of its bouncing glory. Check out one of his new tunes "Don't You Worry" for a small sample of his musical styles.
Out of all the bands that appeared at SXSW, I really would have made a point to check out Neon Neon which is a collaboration between Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals and Boom Bip. The absolute guilty pleasure of the year award has to go to their album Stainless Style as it is a 88mph romp in a DeLorean into the past with cowbells, '80s synthesizers, keytars, and Steinberger basses. "I Told Her On Alderaan" is an example of their '80s embodiment with hand claps, wisps of synth pads, overlaying vocal harmonies, and cheesy guitars. "I Lust U" is replete with cowbells and wobbly fat synth bass lines and has the bright red lipstick vocals of Cate Le Bon. As an admitted sucker for keyboards, they didn't have one but had two keytars on stage and I couldn't have been more impressed. "Sweat Shop" is their wink to '80s rap that was deftly handled by Har Mar Superstar as he changed the lyrics to "Sweat Pants" and freestyled a majority of the song. Josh Klinghoffer (Guitars) had an intense setup that included two ancient Boss Delay pedals to go along with his Moog Low Pass Filter and Moog Multiple Resonance Filter Array on his double neck bass and guitar. It was fitting that they played the Sunset Strip and the Viper Room because it was as close to being in the eighties as you could get with out having a tricked out DeLorean. Neon Neon's whole album is streaming on their Myspace page right now but I need to get a vinyl copy of this record ASAP.
The Voom Blooms
The Voom Blooms closed out the night with their tightly wound UK rock in the vein of the Artic Monkeys and The Fratellis but with a nod to the anthems of U2. I always try to see all the bands on a bill and was glad I stayed as the boys of the Voom Blooms knew how to rock as George Guildford (Guitars/Vocals) was feverishly weaving angular guitar lines while not missing a beat as he sang. I instantly remembered "Nine Ships" from their Myspace as one of the songs they played with its meandering and foot stomping bass and dueling guitars. Andy Wells (Bass) had an Epiphone Jack Casady Bass that effectively displaced the airwaves in the room during "By The Seashore". The crowd begged for an encore which The Voom Blooms obliged with probably my favorite song of their set. I may have to catch them again on March 24th at the Viper Room.