Sunday, April 4, 2010

Live: Deakin, Seattle, WA 3/31/2010

Deakin - Neumos, Seattle, WA 3/31/10
Plus Guests:
Peppermint Majesty

I'll admit, my main reason for marking this show on my calendar was because I saw it on the Neumos calendar and thought "Peppermint Majesty" was a good band name. Further research yielded some pleasant surprises. First, I hadn't noticed that Deakin, aka Josh Gibb, one of Animal Collective's three members, was the headliner. I was also unaware that two members of Peppermint Majesty are also in Fleet Foxes. Not to mention Jabon is by day known as Scott Colburn, the audio guru who recorded Animal Collective's "Feels" and Arcade Fire's Neon Bible.

All around, this show was a treat, but it wouldn't be for everyone. Peppermint Majesty bore a lot of similarities to Fleet Foxes, albeit less folksy and more poppy. Some of the songs they played, though not on any FF releases, sounded familiar, and I couldn't help but wonder if the Foxes had played some of those songs when I'd seen them live. PM's harmonies were very much in FF's style, but overall the sound had more Seattle and less Appalachia. Vibraphones and electric pianos and electric clarinet added a playfulness that distinguished them from FF.

It only got weirder from there. Jabon took the stage wearing a mask and robe, and performed a spooky experimental electronic set in the vein of Autechre ("Dark Ambient Avant-Garde Disco Comedy," in Jabon's own words). It was very interesting stuff, though the "comedy" element, as well as some troubles with the laptop on stage (Windows ME? Seriously?) undermined the mystery a bit.

Deakin, on the other hand, went out of his way to be more audience-accessible, even taking the time to explain his musical philosophies before beginning his set. Overall, I found his music much more original and interesting than Jabon's, all of it very much in Animal Collective's style. Even if a slower and more challenging listen, his songs paved a familiar, very lysergic landscape, offering a glimpse of Deakin's contribution to the band. He played sounds unrecognizable as guitar through a multitude of effects, along with some other unidentified noise-making devices. It was all very loud, sounds only a high-powered PA system can do justice.

To my surprise, there was no encore, and the crowd had thinned out a bit by the end of the show. I would have liked to see one, though  will admit I was a little relieved, having forgotten my earplugs. It was a bit over the pain threshold. Don't get me wrong, I like my concerts loud, but if it comes to a choice between losing my hearing and having the sound muffled by earplugs, I'd rather have the volume knob turned back down to "10." If I was just a once-in-a-while concert goer, that might be different, but this is a lifestyle for me, and I hope I have some hearing left by the time I'm 30.

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