Concert Review: Tortoise, March 12, Lee’s Palace


While their latest album, The Catastrophist, features vocals for the first time in the band’s career, Tortoise’s show on Saturday night at Lee’s Palace was strictly an instrumental affair. In fact, the band kept pretty silent themselves, only addressing the crowd for the first time a couple of songs in when Doug McCombs launched a robust yet good natured “fuck you!” at an audience member. Said audience member had just shouted out “Go Santa!” in reference to McComb’s full grey beard, so it was probably entirely justified. Other than that, the band’s banter was limited to a few acknowledgements of the crowd, which was definitely full of a fair number of die hard fans.

The post-rock godfathers put on an impressive performance, showing off their instrumental prowess throughout with several of the band members also switching from instrument to instrument. With several instruments onstage, including  a veritable arsenal of synthesizers, two drumkits, and a vibraphone, the band had a number of tools at their disposal, though they did have a bit of an issue with some of their equipment.

“Our shit is broke,” announced John Herndon midway through their set, thanking us for sticking with them and mentioning that they were trying to maneuver around it. The apology was appreciated, though hardly necessary, since any technical difficulties the band may have been having were hardly noticed. Other than a couple of minor issues in the mix and the fact that they were staying away from certain gear onstage, it was pretty much a flawless performance from a telented group of players – if this was the band having to make do with what they had and settling for less, it sounded fantastic and I’d be quite interested in seeing what they can do without any snafus.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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