Saturday night was Merge Records night in New York with three of the label”s biggest band in town playing separate shows. Most indie lovers went with Option 1: The Arcade Fire at Randals Island. (Apparently some other bands played too.) Option 2, if so lucky, was to see Spoon perform on Saturday Night Live. Some of us, those who don’t like standing in a field for five hours or have friends at NBC, went for Option 3. I think I made the right choice.
Last time I saw Dan Snaith was at Bowery Ballroom in 2001, back when he was still using the Manitoba moniker. More has changed since then than just the name of the band. After two albums of albums of laptop cacophony with hints of melody, Caribou has gone pop for the just-released Andorra, which I think is one of the year’s best. Mind you, he still makes room for the psychedelic freakout, and his idea of Pop is not the same as, say, James Blunt’s, but its still loaded with undeniably catchy tunes.
The psychedelic freakout aspect plays a little more heavily in Caribou’s live show, which features lysergic projections and an overload of percussion. Two drum kits were front and center, with dedicated man Brad Weber on one and the second for Snaith, who played it at least part of every song, when he wasn’t on guitar or keyboards.
I have stated many times before that two things that push my buttons are a) putting the drums at the front of the stage and b) two drummers. So this was my kind of show, even if all this pounding turned some of the tight, perfect songs on Andorra into longer, wilder things… with false endings. Every single song had a point where at least one person in the audience clapped before it kicked back in, usually with another three minutes of double-drums and flashing, seizure-inducing lights.
As I’m not an epileptic, I found it all awesome. If Snaith and Weber weren’t so good on their kits, it wouldn’t have worked. But they were so in synch, it was a thing to behold. And the rest of the band, guitarist Andy Smith and bassist Andy Lloyd, were nothing to sneeze at either. I left quite happy about where I had chosen to be that night, and even though the show was indoors, I still found Caribou outstanding in their field. Wah wah!
MP3: Caribou – Eli
And here’s video from the encore, the last six minutes. I’m pretty sure there was a song attached to this…