Sunday, January 20, 2013

Geographer, On An On and Hollow Wood @ Neurolux (1/16/13)

Up until this show, I'd never heard of Geographer or On An On.  Also, I remember that Hollow Wood played Neurolux last August on my birthday, but... Well, let's just say that I wasn't able to make a proper assessment at that time.  Anyway, these two facts gave me sufficient reason to check out this show.

I got down to the Neurolux late, but happily, quite a few others didn't.  I counted over ninety people, half of whom were up close to the stage.

Hollow Wood opened the show.  I only caught the last few songs of this local folk-ish group's set, unfortunately, but what I heard didn't sound bad at all: yearning melodies, gorgeous harmonies, intriguing lyrics, pretty good beats (courtesy of Lyndsay Wright and Shelby Juri), welcoming vibe.  Lead singer Adam Stip sounded a little hoarse at a couple of points, but judging from the band's recordings, he may have just been a little under the weather.  In any case, he still pulled out a pretty sweet falsetto here and there.

On An On played next.  This Chicago group's dreamy vocals, supple basslines, post-punk dance beats and synths of many colors washed over the crowd.  The geometric shapes, whorls and spirals projected on the wall behind them augmented the hallucinatory feel of the music.  I know that it's pretty damn lame to say that I wished that this set could've gone on an on, but... well, there's just no way around it.  The rest of the crowd seemed to feel the same: I saw the people closest to the stage do some swaying and bouncing.

Geographer closed out the night.  I'll admit that I feared the worst when I saw this San Francisco-based band set up their electric cello.  However, they won me over well before they broke out some charmingly cheesy 80's synth riffs and hip-hop beats.  Mike Deni's gliding, souful croon combined with Brian Ostreicher's lithely pounding drums and Nathan Blaz's moaning cello and beguiling synthesizer tracks to create a sound that was at once massive, dramatic, playful and strangely wistful.  Atmospherics weren't all that they had going for them either: their quirky songwriting showed as much pop savvy as any group I've heard in the past few months.  And boy, they sure knew how to work the crowd.  People were doing plenty of dancing and clapping to the beat on their own, but between his bouncing around the stage, crowd-surfing and hopping down to sing among the audience, Mike Deni had them eating out of the palm of his hand.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Duck Club Presents.

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