Thursday, May 08, 2008

Caribou at the El Rey Theatre

It was the day before Coachella and Caribou along with F*ck Buttons swung by the El Rey Theatre. I was surprised after seeing the show why these two bands weren't on the Coachella bill as they have plenty to offer in the music originality department.

F*ck Buttons

A barrage of chimes cascaded over the audience as F*ck Buttons triggered "Sweet Love for Planet Earth". The song is a walking contradiction as the dulcimer chimes are juxtaposed with dark synth stabs making the song dark and beautiful as Benjamin John Power (Vocals/Synthesizers) grabs his Fisher Price microphone and starts screaming. "Ribs Out" was a tribal romp of stuttering drum beats and jungle screams as F*ck Buttons darkened the atmosphere considerably. F*ck Buttons effortlessly melted the song into "Okay, Let's Talk About Magic" which bores into your skull with its pulsating synths and random ranting vocals. I started to think that Holy F*ck and F*ck Buttons should tour together and title it the "Holy Buttons" tour. "Race You To The Bedroom-Spirit Rise" drilled into what was left of my head. The contradiction of a hard synthesizer bass line underpinned by a delicate keyboard riff was as startling as the rambling distorted vocals. "Bright Tomorrow" seared and melted minds at the same time. Andrew Hung (Synthesizers) used a Gameboy at one point to trigger some distorted keyboard riffs. F*ck Buttons will be playing ATP Festival curated by My Bloody Valentine in September in case you needed a stronger endorsement.


A driving drum beat and hypnotic guitar riff gave way to the drum romp of "Sundialing" as Daniel Snaith (Vocals/Drums/Guitars) plucked out the notes on his Gibson SG. Daniel would also drop the guitar to sit in on his own drum kit and pound away. It was a great start as my introduction to the world of Caribou. Caribou dipped into their back catalog as they played "Brahminy Kite" from the album "The Milk of Human Kindness". I quickly see why Caribou and F*ck Buttons toured together as I enjoyed the juxtaposition of Caribou's waves of furious driving drums underpinned by ringing guitars. "Brahminy Kite" was closed out with a monster duel drum jam as a projection screen flashed various geometry inspired colored patterns. The howls from the crowd came out as the echo drenched guitar notes of "Melody Day" trickled over the propulsive drum beat. The combination of the drums, guitars, colored projections and whisper vocals easily transported you to another place as their music seemed to transcend your consciousness. "Sandy" from their recent release "Andorra" focused on vocal harmonies as Caribou continued to weave their dense layers of sound together. "After Hours" was romp through the psychedelic sixties with its wobbly spaced out guitars and extended length. The lullaby from an old music box feel of "Crayon" had a lot of the audience swooning back and forth. It became difficult to actively take notes because the music was so entrancing. In retrospect, I was glad they didn't play Coachella because they wouldn't have stopped by the El Rey for one heck of a show.

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