Tuesday, September 13

MFNW - Day Two

The global sounds of Little Dragon.

Sun Angle @ Holocene

Little Dragon
Unkown Mortal Orchestra
@ The Hawthorne Theater

Thursday started out at a relatively empty Holocene with some noisy bursts of energy from Sun Angle.  Noise rock was never my thing, but you get the feeling that this trio is on to something.  With a well known DJ on bass (Copy) and a quirky drummer with enough energy to power a small car you feel compelled to do a little dancing.  That gets lost in the rough distortion and feedback from synths and guitars, but hey, maybe it's an intellectual thing.

After reaching the conclusion that Little Dragon was not to be missed I decide to head to the Hawthorne Theater early.  It doesn't hurt that opener Unknown Mortal Orchestra had been compared to Led Zeppelin and Big Audio Dynamite.  Packing into the back room of the Theater, it was evident that something was in the air.  A noticeably more vibrant crowd had come out to get down.  UMO lived up to the Zeppelin reference with big funk rock drum beats and loaded bass lines.  Ruban Nielson knows how to write a vocal hook.  It sounded like white people's response to hip hop - still playing rock instruments but with a goofball attitude and fun vocals.  It doesn't surprise me that they have opened for Toro y Moi.
  But the real treat of the night was Little Dragon.  Having heard a few mellow remixes I wasn't quite sure what I was in for, but was intrigued by an "electro-soul" tagline that someone had given them. Hearing that they were from Sweden sealed the deal.  If there's one thing I've learned it's that the Swedes know how to make good music. 
   They came out in typical rockstar fashion, one at a time, layering their individual sound on top of one another - it doesn't make sense at first but once they're all moving you realize the submarine has left the dock.  I can really appreciate the hybrid dance bands that are creeping up, because I often get bored with the extremes - authentic rock bands and straight 4/4 DJs.  Bands like Little Dragon take a little bit from both and manage to put on a great show.  They played two 10 minute percussion-driven jams that scared away the straight-edge crowd, but brought everyone else that much closer to ecstasy.  This was the most animated I have ever seen a crowd of people in Portland - we're pretty reserved here.  But people were screaming at almost every change in the music and masses were grooving.  It's been awhile since I've seen good dance music so this might be commonplace, but I doubt it.

The show ended shortly before midnight and while everyone was pulling themselves together in the sweaty exit hallway I had my eyes on Phantogram at the Doug Fir.  Apparently there are a lot of "pysche pulse" fans in Portland because the line was around the block even after they started playing.  I decided that latenight hypnosis was best served on a weekend so I hit the road.

Sun Angle - Vague Light

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Thought Ballune
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - How Can You Luv Me
Little Dragon -Ritual Union
Phantogram -Mouthful of Diamonds

Unkown Mortal Orchestra brings the New Zealand brand of psychedelic funk

Little Dragon gets weird.

Images: stereogum, Hannah Gregg, Noel

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