Jelly managed to toe the imaginary line between breakout mainstream indie acts and their underground origins brilliantly last week with a tastefully unadorned show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Apart from the cell phone ads. But why complain. You saw your two favorite bands for $12, and the place had a really cool chandelier.
The Dirty Projector homecoming opened fittingly with Longstreth’s adoption of Henry Rollin’s “Police Story” lyrics: “this fucking city, it’s run by pigs, they take away the rights from all the kids.” It’s been a few months since Dirty Projector’s last showing, and more than a year since they graced Brooklyn d.i.y. stages regularly. And d.i.y., this sound system was not. Where Longstreth once screeched out those lyrics like a rusty Masonic Temple door in need of WD40, these songs, and everything about their delivery, were slicked over with pure professional performance and high-end live sound. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to hear the more gutteral vocals and harsh guitar sounds again, but it was novel to hear the Projectors on greased wheels. (Note: Yes, I believe Dirty Projectors played new songs.) (Second note: This person complained about bad sound, I guess for some pop website. Was it so loud the kick drum was feeding back? Yes. Overblown, perhaps. Bad? Different strokes for different folks!)
Dan Deacon showcased tracks from Bromst, his deliberate departure from the one-man dance party on Spiderman of the Rings. He explained to the Village Voice that he’d begun writing both of the albums at around the same time, but that Bromst, his upcoming release, was intended to be a return to the chamber and large-group work he’d done at grad school. While he mixed this live show up with songs from both albums, he’d brought along 13(?) Brooklyn and Baltimore associates to perform his large-scale pieces.
While his Ultimate Reality tour showcased Jeremy Hyman and Kevin O’Meara on drums to accompany Deacon’s synthesized songs, Bromst opens a very wide door of percussive complexity; most lively were the interchanges between said percussionist’s lock-down grooves and So Percussion’s work on belled percussion. (So Percussion also opened the evening.)
And while Deacon may be setting a new tone for his live performances, his fans showed up for the same parties he’s always thrown them. They could hardly contain themselves during slower, meditative interludes in his new compositions, picking a collective tempo at random and clapping to it in anticipation of the next sudden burst of percussion. It doesn’t seem that Deacon wants to squander his skills as the best Bar Mitzvah DJ to ever not DJ a Bar Mitzvah: halfway through his set he organized half the audience into a giant tunnel of arms, as pictured below.
While this was the initial lineup, I’m fairly confident (correct me if I’m wrong), that guitar’s didn’t feature in the performance, or only featured in one song, since I thought I saw Matt Papich sling one around his neck backstage:
Eric Beach (So Percussion)
Denny Bowen (Double Dagger, Smarthgrowth)
Jeremy Hyman (Ponytail, Ultimate Reality)
Kevin O’Meara (Videohippos, Ultimate Reality)
Rich O’Meara (ko’mm)
Josh Quillen (So Percussion)
Adam Sliwinski (So Percussion)
Jason Treuting (So Percussion)
Synthesizers, Keyboards and Electronics
Benny Boeldt (Adventure)
William Cashion (Future Islands)
Chester Gwazda (Nuclear Power Pants)
Gerrit Welmers (Future Islands)
Matt Papiach (Ecstatic Sunshine/White Williams)
Ken Seeno (Ponytail)