Over the weekend: Spoke Shaver, Big Timber and Dualistics at the Larimer Lounge
Spoke Shaver, Big Timber and Dualistics
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Better Than: I would have thought possible.
Before this show I never liked Dualistics. All of its stage antics and music seemed contrived and derivative to a fault. But it had been a long time since I'd seen the act perform and for this show it was obvious to me that the overall songwriting and sound had improved dramatically. Maybe some of the slings and arrows of being a band doing relatively mainstream atmospheric pop music in this town toughened these guys up a bit and instead of quitting, they just got a lot better. The noisy "Spy Vs. Spy" was a nice and rocking break from the band's usual sonic proclivities with its odd, choppy and ultimately effective dynamics. The vocal harmonies were both solidly melodic as well as heartfelt. Not a dull moment in the set.
Opening with the densely textured yet atmospherically expansive "Birds Have No Agenda" (a song that will hopefully be included in another release), Spoke Shaver treated us to a lengthy set of its impressively diverse songs. I've read a lot about them being prog and whatnot and that's certainly part of the underlying structure of the songwriting but instead of showing off the technical proficiency of the players, this band proved in the live setting that it is capable of emotional depth to match its immense musical talent. To my ears, there was a whole lot of soul and funk in all the songs performed but in a way that hasn't been worn out or compromised by people who don't understand it but like how it sounds. In addition to a great new song called "Pinata Knife," Spoke Shaver played its entire new album with closing the heady and inspiring set with "Leftover Sandwich." That is until the audience demanded and got an encore.
Personal Bias: I've been a fan of Spoke Shaver since the first time I saw them.
Random Detail: When Spoke Shaver's snare broke, The Dualistics loaned one in time for the last two songs of the set.
By the Way: Trevor Morris of Big Timber engineered the Spoke Shaver album.
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