El TEN ELEVEN @ FOX THEATRE | 2/1/12
El Ten Eleven lit up the Fox Theatre last night on its second stop in Colorado. Frontman Kristian Dunn had a Wal fretless bass and 1977 Carvin double neck guitar/bass to choose from with an array of guitar pedals at his disposal, while drummer Tim Fogarty employed a traditional set with an electric drum/synthesizer add-on with his own controller for loops. The pair are well known for their "build from the bottom" style of playing, in which they loop multiple riffs and drum patterns together to essentially build a song. When all the loops are precisely put into place, it sounds like a four-piece band is playing. The process itself did not look easy. Never mind trying to stay in sync with each other.
Talk about using more than ten percent of your brain, Dunn displayed great amount of concentration when composing his loop sections. The construction of the songs was well thought out and surprisingly executed with style. Most of Dunn's time was consumed by his focus on his pedal board -- that is, when he wasn't he was jumping around the stage with a mountain of energy.
Songs would start with Dunn simply picking at his frets, then switching to bass, and then changing to the guitar and combining them to make a clear sound. Dunn's tone was very crisp and screech-free. Towards the end of the set, Dunn lost track of his loops but admirably admitted his mistakes and went on with the show and reminded the crowd, "This is all live -- no computers or MIDI's." The audience was forgiving and no energy was lost.
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There were a variety of styles used during the act. The duo would start slow then came out with raw distortion and top it off with psychedelic-spacey jams. The tempo changes were smooth, and the transitions between sequences were seamless and flowed together wonderfully. It was different watching a song being built from scratch than watching a DJ behind a computer doing only god knows what.
Before El Ten Eleven, Races, an LA-based sextet, crammed on the small stage and brought a '50s-era prom band vibe. Flashlights started the night with white boy soul vocals that were sweet enough to sweep any girl off her feet. While opening acts can sometimes be boring, both of these acts played sets that were short and sweet and straight to the point.
Personal Bias: I would not normally attend this kind of concert, but it turned out very well and makes me want to explore the genre.
Random Detail: Someone in the crowd kept on saying "I love you" to the light guy. Weird.
By the Way: El Ten Eleven will be in Fort Collins tonight then to the mountains to finish out their Colorado run.
El Ten Eleven Fox Theatre - 2/1/12 Boulder, CO
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