Dosh, Anathallo, L’elan Vital Saturday, June 7, 2008 hi-dive Better than: A makeshift drum circle.
Martin Dosh is one of the more interesting artists to come out of Anticon's multi-colored stable of artists. Over the course of four albums, he's created a stream of music that's defied both expectation and definition. A mixture of hip-hop, electronic music and odd, toy-like melodies, Dosh's mini-symphonies are, for the most part, the work of just one guy, which a bit stunning considering the depth and complications of the music.
Dosh's set up -- a drum kit arranged next to a xylophone, keyboards and a drum machine -- was as daunting as it was unorthodox. Like a human octopus, though, Dosh and and his co-hort Mike Lewis, who manned another keyboard and saxophone, pulled all of the disparate parts together pretty seamlessly for the most part. The two had more success when they focused on Dosh's earlier songs -- the room seemed like it was lifting off. When they played material from the new album, Wolves and Wishes, however, the complications became a little more apparent, and the songs just didn’t work in the live context. Even so, overall, Dosh put on a great show that more than made up for the few clunkers.
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Dosh wasn't the night's only attraction. Before he and Lewis took the stage, Denver five-piece L’elan Vital opened the evening with a set of slow burners that bored their way into my brain. I don’t typically have the stomach for moody, post-rock, soundtrack music, but L’elan Vital was actually quite engaging. Up next was Chicago’s (by way of Michigan) Anathallo, who offered up an interesting set that vacilated between enthusiastic to, well, just plain boring. One of my friends -- perhaps inspired by the fact that the band has seven members who trade off instruments -- said that he thought the band sounded like Arcade Fire. To me, however, Anathallo sounded more like a band without much backbone trying to create something loud and timeless.
-- Jeremy Brashaw
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I thought it was interesting that Dosh was able to make the music with just himself, while Anathallo needed seven people. Random Detail: L’elan Vital has a new record out, The Wink And The Gun. It’s good, pick it up. By the Way: Check out Dosh's unorthodox set up below.