Concert Review: Buke and Gass, Efterklang, Sept. 8, Lee’s Palace

Toronto – I have long been interested in musicians who also invent their own instruments or repurpose previously existing ones.  People like Bob Moog, Leon Theremin (who invented what I feel is the coolest instrument ever), whoever invented the Electric Jug made famous by the 13th Floor Elevators, or even Les Paul, without whom we’d have to stand really close to the stage and listen carefully in order to hear an unamplified guitar.  So it was with some interest and curiosity that I went out to check out Buke and Gass.  Buke and Gass is Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez, two Brooklyn based musicians who have indeed created their own instruments, the eponymous buke (modified baritone uke) and gass (guitar + bass).  In the spirit of Frankenstein’s monster or maybe Robocop, they have fused together various parts in order to make something even mightier … and somewhat stranger.  Of course, I mean strange in the best way possible.  I like strange.

Speaking of Robocop, as I watched them play, I began to imagine that Buke and Gass’s unique sound was the result of a Robocop style scenario where Sleater Kinney and Fugazi were reassembled along with some instruments and told to approximate a folk band or something.  Of course, they don’t quite sound like those bands but they bring them to mind with intricate playing, angular rhythms, and Dyer’s powerful voice.  And the folk thing just comes to mind because they play sitting down and they have a uke.  They really don’t sound all that folky.

In terms of stage presence, they were quite enjoyable.  Dyer did most of the talking, with Sanchez content to mostly just play.  She had a quirky, friendly demeanor, chatting with the audience a bit and even asking, “Who’s got a joke?” when Sanchez broke a string.  One audience member actually came forward, yet she hesitated to actually tell her joke, merely stating at first that she went to Humber for their comedy course.  She told a cheesy joke about a talking sausage, and was then deemed “sausage girl” by Dyer.  After playing a couple more songs following that brief interlude, they left the stage while also leaving a good impression on most everyone in attendance.

Even though Buke and Gass made a good deal of beautiful noise during their set, Efterklang’s lush sound made the openers seem almost subdued in comparison. (almost…)   They had the perfect blend of electronics and organic sounds that meshed beautifully and gave the band members a chance to play various instruments throughout the set. ( Not every band can have a drummer take a break mid song to do a trumpet solo)  Singer Casper Clausen even used a wooden ledge next to the stage (which I was standing right next to) as a percussion instrument, which brought to mind Arcade Fire’s penchant for using various onstage items (and people)  percussively.  Speaking of Arcade Fire, I heard hints of their sound in Efterklang’s songs, as well as The Notwist, Can, Sigur Ros, ’70s era Genesis, and a bunch of other stuff.  All of these sounds mix together into a sort of stew that makes for a fairly powerful and enthralling set. 

“Efterklang” is apparently the Danish word for “remembrance” or “reverberation.”  Both of those  words seem fairly appropriate.  As I said many of their songs seemed somewhat reminiscent of various other bands – a remembrance of sorts.  As for the reverberation … well, they had a whole lot going on sonically.  This was certainly a memorable show. 

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything

2 Responses to Concert Review: Buke and Gass, Efterklang, Sept. 8, Lee’s Palace

  1. Wade

    Paul, while you were inside, I was outside, eating a burrito.

  2. Pingback: Be-more every month: Restrepo, Buke and Gass | The Panic Manual

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