Concert Review: the Selmanaires, Atlas Sound, Broadcast, October 24, Lee’s Palace

Every once in awhile, a show comes along and completely blows your mind by the sheer randomness of it. When I saw bauhaus back in 1998 at what was once known as the Warehouse, a muscle-bound freak started random fistfights with everyone around him (women included), a future boyfriend’s watch was smashed in, and management confiscated the camera I had smuggled in. Last night’s Atlas Sound show had a few medical emergencies, a beyond sold-out crowd, and most memorably, my encounter with Bradford Cox.

The evening started off innocently enough. The Selmanaires, another Atlantan outfit invited out to support and back Cox in his Broadcast leg, opened up the show right at 10:00. Having known nothing about them prior to their set and contemplating skipping it altogether, they impressed me with their Primal-Scream-esque dancey psychedelia beats. The only thing they have to work on now: vocals and choosing other Georgian bands to cover (hey, the B52’s were great but everyone was sort of puzzled as no one could recognize the tune they chose). Also, this is another up and coming band that has an Asian…and Ricky, I believe he’s of Chinese descent. Tommy Chung sings and provides bass guitar, so there’s another one to add to our list. The real draw for me however (and there is absolutely no surprise here), was their Colombian ultra-babe percussionist Mario Schambon.  This guy ripped up those bongos and you could just tell he exuded a genuine joy in being able to percuss onstage, toothily grinning to his bandmates the entire time.

Alright, this is going to be biased and unbalanced because for me, this was the show of the year. I’ve been talking about Logos and this show since the summer because I am so impressed that all of the Deerhunter guys are still on speaking terms with the rate of touring and recording they do. Prolific is kind of an understatement, and while I hope they keep going forever..even if they stopped tomorrow they’d have the same sort of 3-album opus effect that bands like Galaxie 500 and Joy Division had. Floodlight Collective and Logos are two albums in particular that I’ve singled out as the best of 2009. Most of Logos consists of duets, which Cox cranked out into a series of acoustic interpretations clad with a harmonica and people towards the back of the room asking “When is this guy going to get off?”. Best: Shelia, My Halo, Criminals, conversation with audience about chemical warfare. Basically, he did whatever the fuck he wanted during his set and it’s nice to see he knows how to work a crowd. When Deerhunter was here back in October there was no 1-1 with the audience. If anyone can provide me with a setlist I’d appresh.

While I was on my way to pee before Broadcast’s set, I ran into B. Cox in the stairwell. Seeing him up close and in person was a surreal experience for me because I consider him the 2000’s experi-dreamy answer to Robert Pollard, but I managed to segueway myself into getting my copy of Let the Blind Lead signed by telling him Logos and Lockett’s album released under Lotus Plaza were both in my top five of 2009. He was so touched he did a leap-hug, we hugged for awhile, and he said “Aww, that’s so sweet”. On my way up the stairs I could hear him saying “Everyone is so nice”. That made me feel good.

Alright – by now even I can sense that

So I’ll wrap up by saying that I wasn’t avant garde enough to appreciate Broadcast‘s set. I did recognize Black Cat and the last song they played got really distorted and fantastic (B. Cox watched from the audience for this one like a regular fan), but a lot of the redeeming qualities about their set came from the awesome projection screen and graphics they had reeling through and not from their stage presence of musical performance. Could’ve used less tinkering with the notebooks onstage though I’ll admit I was mostly thinking about how this would forever be the night that I met Bradford Cox.

Selmanaires: 3_5[1]

Atlas Sound: 4_5[1]

Broadcast (remember that I lack sophistication): 2[1]

Posted on by Allison in Albums, Concerts, Everything

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21 Responses to Concert Review: the Selmanaires, Atlas Sound, Broadcast, October 24, Lee’s Palace

  1. josh

    Was this Broadcast of Warp Records fame?

  2. Allison

    Yes, that’s them.

  3. josh

    Nice….I could imagine translating to a live show would potentially be difficult. Didn’t realize they were still going.

  4. Wade

    That Atlas Sound album is good. Finally listened to it this weekend.

    I have Boradcast’s Tender Buttons album. I remember quite liking it when it came out (2005?)

  5. Jeff

    Well put, Allison. Bradford is one of the rare ones who genuinely does what he wants musically, regardless of trends and scenes. I hope he’s around making music for many years to come.

  6. Vincent Pollard

    i really enjoyed Atlas Sound but Broadcast were fantastic. i wish i’d taken earplugs though – i didn’t realise they would be so loud.

  7. Allison

    I can see how Broadcast’d be the perfect band to score a 60’s acid spy movie. I understand they’re pretty legendary amongst expero-rockers and I really liked the last song where they got all distorted and spontaneous, but the whole art rock thing is kind of challenging unless your name is Bjork. And she has a different kind of energy from Broadcast altogether…We were all saying we’d appreciate the set a lot more if we’d gotten stoned beforehand.

  8. Allison

    Vincent: Yes, it was pretty loud, but I was standing near the back and was sort of surprised at the number of people who’d had the foresight to bring plugs. Maybe I’m going deaf–soon I’ll have no perception of what’s loud at all.

  9. Charles

    I just saw Broadcast last night in Columbus, and was extremely disappointed with their set. In their hour-long set, at least half was filled with the bordering-on-noise that i am assuming is their ‘new direction’? I think they only played three songs from their previous 12+ years of work: Corporeal, Black Cat, and Lunch Hour Pops. It’s a real shame since all their work up to this point has been so excellent.

  10. Allison

    Charles: You’ve pretty much confirmed what the big Broadcast fan amongst us thought. He was lamenting the loss of Tim Felton the whole time. There’s nothing wrong with noise or distortion but I agree it has to be balanced out with some strong songs with actual singing and chords and stuff. I’d call it pretentious but I didn’t understand it, so I can’t pretend to know whether it was good or bad; just definitely not my cup of tea. I did think the graphics were well done though.

  11. Ricky

    i HAVENT seen broadcast apparently..i saw Royksopp

  12. Steve

    Nice review! Yes Charles it was a bit disappointing. I tried to picture myself in an art gallery at the beginning for Broadcast and not a music venue and it made more sense that way. I have seen them be so much better though (and Allison way more 60s spy soundtrackish). They should stick with what works.

  13. Brian

    Broadcast was actually at the top of my list of shows I was sorry I was going to miss by moving from Toronto to Europe for six months. But your review and Charles’s comment makes me feel not so bad about missing it. Sounds like their “new direction” might not be an improvement. I’m skipping Massive Attack in Amsterdam tomorrow night because I don’t like their “new direction” either, I listened to their new EP and had a strongly negative reaction to it. Oh what has become of the late 90’s/early 2000’s trip hop that I once loved so well?

  14. Allison

    I’m all for new artistic directions and chapters, provided said directions are decent and not just different. Maybe Trish Keenan got tired of singing and decided it was more fun to pop our heads off like champagne corks instead. I dunno. I think the art gallery comparison is apt because I sort of felt about Broadcast’s set the way I do about a lot of modern art. I don’t quite get it. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what they’re trying to just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Brian, what does Massive Attack sound like now? I’m going to Italy and Spain for 2 weeks on Wednesday, maybe we can meet up. Everything is really squished together there–I got a ryanair ticket from Venice to Barcelona for $33 even after the shitty currency conversion rates came in from my credit card.

  15. Ricky

    whose Brian?

  16. Allison

    Wow, he’s getting ABC coverage now:

  17. Brian

    Ricky, we’ve never met before. Hi, nice site you’ve got here.

    Allison, send me an email, let me know your plans. Meeting up in Spain would be cool.

  18. Ricky man then u can have a pic besides those comments!

  19. Alea

    I totally enjoyed this show, and I remember saying to my friend after Atlas Sound’s set.. “Wow, we could leave right now and I’d be completely content.” I’ve liked Broadcast for a long time and was totally frustrated with their set. I think that the Selmenaires and Atlas Sound are a tough act to follow though. Did you notice how much the crowd thinned out after about 10 minutes into their extremely loud noise set? And apparently no encore? I left thinking it wasn’t over but I could take it no longer, and really I left after their last song, unknowingly.

  20. Allison

    Hey Alea, yeah I felt the same way..but since Broadcast has been so influential I figured I’d give them a shot to see what they were all about. You’re right, the crowd did thin out towards the end but I felt that the last song at least had some energy when it got all distorted and noisy. During the rest of their set it just seemed like they were dicking around with their laptops making random sounds.

    I’m glad you liked the Selmanaires too–I’ve listened to a bit of their other stuff and they’re totally decent. Let’s hope they get a headliner in Toronto soon.

  21. Pingback: Concert Review: Ulrich Schnauss, Chapterhouse, October 6, Lee’s Palace | The Panic Manual

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