Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Concert: Caribou

I went to this concert in Whelan's with Kevlol and one of his pals. The support band were some fellows called Born Ruffians, and they were, for me, worth the price of admission on their own. The Ruffs are three young lads from across the Atlantic and they played a kind of music that sounded very familiar while not sounding exactly like the stuff produced by anyone else. In broad terms, I suppose they count as a US indie rock, but the *shy* type rather than the fratboy. You could imagine their tunes showing up on the Juno soundtrack, if that is any help. I liked the way the singer's strangulated vocals played off the musoey and drum heavy instrumentation.

I also was amused when the drummer, finishing their set, said "Thanks very much… stick around for Caribou… which you will of course do, as they are the ones you are here to see". I am not sure of you know these Caribou chaps, I certainly did not before going to the gig. They seem to be in an interesting musical stage, where they have what in absolute terms has to be taken as a small number of fans, but those fans are very into their music. So it was that I saw them in a not-full Whelans where the crowd that was here went totally mental for the band, with even the totally 100% heterosexual likes of Kevlol throwing his kecks up on stage and begging Mr Caribou to father gay babies on him.

What would be amusing would be to now approach the rest of this write-up in the spirit of an anthropological enquiry, attempting, in a 50s academic gone hip style, to understand the cause of Caribou's popularity with their fans. But that would be a bit hard to sustain, so I will instead talk about the band and their actual performance. There were about four of them on stage, with one of them being very much Mr Caribou. I got the impression that maybe the Bou were originally a one-man-band, perhaps based around synthetics, but they have evolved into a band who live to rock. Their music was very drum led, emphasised by the main drum kit's situation at the front of the stage. The main drummer also seemed to lead a lot of the music, visibly cueing the other musicians in an exciting manner. Mr Caribou himself would often switched from his keyboards to a second drumkit, typically to let songs explode into a twin drum workout where normal music would have a guitar solo. In contrast, the guitarist and bassist lurked at the back of the stage, doing their job quietly and without fuss, knowing their place.

The drumminess of Caribou was for me the band's secret weapon, the thing that makes me inclined to recommend their live appearances to other people. I do not remember so much about the songs themselves (as distinct from their arrangements), but I recall that Mr Caribou's vocals were a bit buried in the mix, perhaps as a homage to My Bloody Valentine.

OK, that's enough Caribou. Check them out next time they come to your town.


kvlol said...

Such a great gig. Delighted that you enjoyed it!

My blog is much ignored. Have now started on tumblr, much less work!

ian said...

I know not this tumblr.

kvlol said...

I have emailed you the link. It is fun!

Lisa said...

Boo, I missed that gig due to Other Commitments - I haven't seen Caribou in yonks and they're always very entertaining.

Also Mr. Caribou is possibly one of the nicest blokes I have ever met (Mr. Caribou has, I think, recently finished a PhD in Maths, and because THE WORLD IS VERY SMALL, he and Brian know people in common through the world of Hard Sums).

kvlol said...

"Also Mr. Caribou is possibly one of the nicest blokes I have ever met"

This is very true! Always good for a chat by the merch stall.