Sunday, March 3, 2013

DIIV, Wax Idols, SISU and Lenz – A Concert Review

     Last night (March 2, 2013), we attended a Noise Pop event at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco. In the order of appearance, the bands were Lenz, SISU, Wax Idols, and DIIV. The typically approach to a review is to consider the bands in the order of appearance and to embed music after each discussion of a band. Today, we turn that approach on its head – start with a song, then a discussion of the headliner, and work backward in time.

     The song that is most responsible for bringing attention to DIIV is “Doused.”

     As apparent from “Doused,” the featured instrument of DIIV is the guitar. Three of the five members exclusively play the guitar and a fourth switches between the keyboards and the guitar, It is effective! DIIV is based in Brooklyn, NY. The regular band members are frontman and guitarist Zachary Cole Smith (as a side project of his membership with the Beach Fossils), guitarist Andrew Bailey (like Smith, from Connecticut), bassist Devin Ruben Perez (from New York City), and drummer Colby Hewitt (from California and formerly of Smith Westerns). The fifth member last night doesn’t seem to get any recognition, and we did not see his name in the Noise Pop promotions for the event. If we get his name, we will add it to this post, because he was important to the performance – providing backup vocals, keyboard play and more driving guitar. By the way, last night it was Smith’s turn to use the band’s comb.
The band was started by Smith and called Dive, after the Nirvana song, but the spelling was soon changed out of respect for the Belgium band Dive.
     Their show at the Brick & Mortar was energetic. The band delivered. The show started with the song “(Druun),” which set the tone for the evening. If an improvement is available, it would be to end the encore with “Doused,” rather than accommodating the crowd’s request for more by adding a lower-energy song to the encore.
     "(Drunn) Part II" by DIIV

Saturday's Setlist
     “Wax Idols” performed before DIIV. We admit to being far short
of enthusiastic about seeing a band that takes pride in being punk and somewhat gothic. Going in, we figured that the saving grace was the fact that Wax Idols is female-driven, which typically translates to higher quality punk vocals (sorry guys) and less emphasis on violent situations. The performance was FAR better than we anticipated. The female drummer was skilled, the frontwoman (Heather Fortune, who writes the songs) had a “presence,” and the other two guitarists were consistently good and exceled at times. The vocals were muffled, but that may have been a result of our being so close that we were leaning against the stage (but it did give us the opportunity to take the pic of their setlist). The members of the Oakland-based Wax Idols are Heather Fortune, Jennifer Mundy, and Amy Rosenoff. We owe you an apology for doubting you.

     "Schadenfreude” by Wax Idols.

      SISU (pronounced "see-soo) performed prior to the Wax Idols. The band is from the Los Angeles area. SISU is led by Sandra Vu, who is also the drummer for Dum Dum Girls. Other members of the group are Ryan Wood, Nat Keefer, Chris Stevens, Rebecca Calinsky, and Jules Medeiros. The male guitarists were at times lost in their music, which is certainly not intended as a negative. The two females provided the vocals, usually just Vu but best when Vu and Calinsky were sharing the vocalization. SISU will release its debut album in June 2013. Here is a Bandcamp release of two SISU songs.

     The first band to perform was Lenz, who are also from Oakland. From all appearances, the band members were in a foul mood. There was no attempt to connect with the audience. Partially through the performance, Andy Jordan announced that this was the last day Ray Seraphin would be with the band. Seraphin looked at neither the crowd nor Jordan, electing instead to stoop down and adjust the sound of his guitar. It was not comfortable for anyone. The other members of the band - Matt Bulimore and Brett Eastman.

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