Thursday, May 20, 2010

Maps and Atlases and Frightened Rabbit at The Fillmore

Maps and Atlases: best use of cowbell I’ve heard in many moons. Their drummer is a star in all senses of the word: the band draws energy from his funky beats. Wikipedia says that Maps and Atlases belongs to a subgenre of music called “math rock,” not be confused with “post-rock," which incorporates elements of "shoegaze," vomit, barf, etc. I know these music labels are douchey, but still, Wikipedia does a decent job summing up the sound.

Yet, if anyone ever asks me what Maps and Atlases sound like, I'll stammer and babble and vote Republican before saying, "Oh, they're math rock," because I know exactly how harshly I'd judge someone if they ever casually tossed that term out. My eyes would crinkle and my mouth would purse like a chicken's asshole: "Oh, math rock, you say?"

Maybe the lesson here is that I should be less critical of myself and others. No, that can't possibly be the lesson!

Question that I've asked before: How do you talk about ANYTHING in an erudite way without sounding pretentious? It's a give and take: you disclose your opinion then you counterbalance what you've just said by saying something self-deprecating: David Foster Wallace always appeared to have that balancing act down. Emphasis on "appeared."

End tangent. Anyway, Maps and Atlases' lead singer, Dave Davison (why parents, why would you do this?) has his own set of talents:

He looks a lot shaggier now then he does in this vid. He’s entered into the Jesus/Captain Caveman Hipster-phase. Meaning, I can't gauge whether or not he's cute because all the naked eye can see is face-bush.

Here's a little more:

And now I've run out of steam for Frightened Rabbit, which is too bad, because it was a stellar show. The crowd was the culty kind that knows all the lyrics and shouts them out, myself included. The emotional highlight of the show was the first song in the encore, an acoustic version of "Poke," which was infinitely better than this clip, but oh well:

When he finished last night, he told us, "That was my favorite time I ever sang that song. I'll never forget that."

Let's be real: Scott Hutchinson is basically a more electric, Scottish version of Bright Eyes. You either embrace it with your angsty teen soul, or you dismiss it as melodramatic. I'm in the first category.


Unrelated postscript:

I also saw Michael Chabon read last night with his wife, Ayelet. It was a mistake for them to read side by side. How much does it suck to be an author in your own right and be Michael Chabon's goddamned wife? I don't think she would say it sucks. She seems to like, love him a lot. But I also wonder if she quietly simmers with jealousy? I would. Someone give me an example of a literary power couple with equal levels of talent, please.

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