Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Yann Tiersen and Asobi Seksu at the El Rey Theatre
I honestly went to this show specifically to see Asobi Seksu. It seems like only a few weeks ago, I caught Asobi Seksu at the Troubadour when they blew me away with their lush layers of fuzz from their gorgeous new album Hush. The evening continued to blossom when I decided to stick around for Yann Tiersen.
Even though I just saw Asobi Seksu, I couldn't pass up another opportunity to see them again. A steady drumbeat of "Sing Tomorrow's Praise" kicked off their set with Yuki Chikudate (Vocals/Synthesizers) weaving twinkling keyboard lines into the ethereal guitars of James Hanna. The sound mix at the El Rey sounded pristine as every note blended together.
Billy Pavone (Bass) crushed his bass for the fuzzy notes of "Strawberries" backed by the intricate guitar picking pattern by James. "Thursday" was another barnburner from Citrus that had me staring at James's interesting chord progressions on his guitar.
Asobi Seksu kept the energy level high throughout most of the set but did turn it down (relatively) for their self proclaimed "Slow Jam" when they did the sparkling "Blind Little Rain". It was also nice to hear "Layers" live as most of the crowd was getting into their set.
The final clincher was that of "Red Sea" which fully sold the audience with its immense waves of sound and feedback as the strobe lights flickered in time with the noise. Yuki would punctuate their performance by throttling the drum kit for a rousing ovation from crowd.
I stopped by the merchandise booth and picked up a cd of their acoustic performances at Olympic Studios that I highly recommend. Make sure to check out their live performance on KCRW.
I won't pretend to have infinite knowledge on Yann Tiersen but I did hear he did the soundtrack to Amelie that I have yet to watch. Since I tend to be a little gear biased, things were moving in the right direction when I saw a Moog Voyager being setup along with a Hiwatt Custom Tape Echo attached to it. My eyes and ears widened when I saw two large pedal boards being setup.
The interesting thing to note was it didn't seem like the typical El Rey Theatre crowd. A lot of people were scurried by security in between the black lines of tape to keep the aisles clear which indicated they hadn't been to the venue before. It also seemed that they were unprepared by the vast noisy textured songs that Yann proceeded to render.
Armed with a Fender Jaguar, Yann dialed up some large heaps of delay and fuzz for an intoxicating set. Since I didn't know what to expect, I was enjoying myself but most of the audience seemed have a quizzical look on their face. After perusing through some of his recorded material, things made sense. I don't think the crowd was expecting a rock show.
Yann effortlessly switched from guitar to violin for a solo instrumental that had literally had members of the audience throw their undergarments on stage. Was I at a Poison show? It was hilarious to see the band continue to play as they were visibly cracking up on stage. It reaffirmed my stance that all bands deserve a chance to be seen because you might be pleasantly surprised. Yann will be heading back to Europe for another tour as well as stopping by the ATP festival being curated by the Breeders.