Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider has described the band's latest effort, Travellers in Space and Time, as "retro-futuristic super-pop," a tag which could just as easily be applied to some of the band's earlier material. It's also an apt description of Schneider's music making efforts, as he clearly has a knack for digging into music from the '60s and '70s, putting his own spin on it and hurling it towards the future.
And Schneider's not afraid to wear his influences on his sleeve either, whether it's his affinity for the Beach Boys or the Beatles or E.L.O., which was especially evident on "Hey Elevator," "Dance Floor" and "No One in the World," three cuts the Apples played Friday night from Travellers in Space and Time.
Wearing futuristic silver costumes made by Rebecca Turbow, who's also designed outfits for Of Montreal, Islands and Japanther, with matching light blue slip-on Vans, the Apples looked like a rag-tag spaceship crew from a '70s sci-fi film. Again, fitting that whole notion of looking back while simultaneously looking toward the future.
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Early in the show, Schneider joked about how they were traveling from the future into the past, making Friday's show the last of the tour, when actually it was the first show, as the would be heading out west in a few days. The show served as a righteous tour kick-off and a lot of the folks in the crowd seemed to be really digging all that the Apples were throwing at them. While they were digging into a good assortment of tunes over the last decade or so, a guy in the crowd kept yelling "Tidal Wave," which was from band's 1995 debut, Fun Trick Noisemaker.
The group set the multi-colored energy surging early with effervescent pop tunes like "Go" and "Energy," both of which appear on last year's compilation #1 Hits Explosion. Throughout most of the set, it looked like these guys were having a hell of a lot a fun, especially guitarist John Hill, who was grinning nearly every song.
After "Sun is Out," which recalled "White Album" -era Beatles, the Apples moved into their psychedelic-era with an extended and sublime take on "Strawberryfire." Near the end of the set, the guys went full throttle on "Can You Feel It?," one of the most energetic cuts of the night. For the encore, the Apples came out and dug into the Rhodes-fueled "Same Old Drag" and then closed out the night with the fuzzed-out "Ruby."
CRITIC"S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: Robert Schneider is a master of crafting catchy hook-laden pop songs. Random Detail: Dressy Bessy's Tammy Ealom and Rob Greene were at the show.. By the Way: Los Angeles-based eletro-pop opener Fol Chen, who delivered a fun set, will join the Apples in Stereo on their tour out west.