Saturday, April 7, 2007

Menomena -- March 31, 2007

So the Rock and Roll Hotel is a relatively new venue in DC that's getting lots of hottt shows. There is some debate as to whether its existence is beneficial for the particular community in which it's located, but as a patron and participant in fine rock shows, I must admit I'm fond of the venue. This particular bill was listed as Menomena and Field Music, which are two bands I've only recently begun enjoying; so it looked to be a fresh experience if nothing else.

The opener for the evening was Land of Talk, who put on a solid if unspectacular show. They're the kind of band that, had they originated in your hometown you would be oh so proud of them, but when they come from someone else's hometown, they're just... well, pretty good. I always appreciate a female front-person in a rock band, as there are just not enough women in rock music these days; and Ms. Elizabeth Powell certainly rips up the guitar when she takes a lead. They've got a decent thing going, and if they just take some tips from their tourmates, perhaps they'll figure out a few more interesting ways to voice their songs and they'll win me over. I sure hope so. They've only got one record out so far, so there's plenty of time for them to develop.

Next was SUPPOSED to be Field Music. I was pretty dang dissappointed to find out they couldn't make it. Granted, it was because they had an offer to be on British TV, which they couldn't refuse. I understand. As a musician I would've done the same. HOWEVER, that doesn't fill the deep void that was and is my unmet expectations. I wish them the best and congratulate them on their wonderful opportunity, but they better come back. And soon.

Closing out the show was Menomena. By golly if they weren't impressive I don't know what is. Sometimes they might not have totally cohesive "songs," but the way they flesh out so many individual voices is amazing. Highlights included the lead singer playing baritone saxophone and foot keyboard at the same time, the gorgeous 3-part harmonies, the crazy drum breaks, the lead singer looping a bass guitar and playing tenor sax, the glockenspiel, and countless other perfectly well-played oddities. Everything somehow came together and they really pulled off a killer show. Sometimes I wanted more straight-up rock, but I'm ok with missing out on that in favor of so much unexpected innovation. I seriously recommend you go see them right now.

Oh, and their new record is pretty awesome with seriously killer cover art by award-winning graphic novelist Craig Thompson.

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