Last Night: Here We Go Magic and Beach Fossils at The Loft

Here We Go Magic, Beach Fossils
The Loft
August 4, 2010

Better than: Seeing these headliners open in a hot and crowded Granada, as was the case last time around.

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Here We Go Magic

Last summer, Brooklyn's Here We Go Magic opened for Grizzly Bear in what many considered to be one of the concert highlights of the summer, if not the year.

While I enjoyed Grizzly Bear that night, my biggest takeaway from that show was to find out more about that opening band. The release of Pigeons this past June further impressed, with unorthodox songs delivered in an atmosphere of what seemed at times to be barely controlled chaos. Song introductions sometimes faded in, like walking down a hallway to a loft where a party was at full tilt.

So it was with some real anticipation that I went to the Loft to catch them last night. And, indeed, last night at The Loft turned into a party.

What was once a solo project for frontman singer/songwriter Luke Temple has evolved into a five-piece band of musicians--each of whom has real chops--that play together as tightly and joyously as their five-part harmonies.

The hour-long set contained only a couple of pauses between songs to let the band (and audience) catch its breath. And, in the course of that hour, the band covered a lot of musical territory--at times sounding a bit jam-bandish with tones of the Grateful Dead and Donald Fagan's retro jazz and, at others, like even Animal Collective's discordant noise or the math rockish Dirty Projectors. The whole band delighted: Jen Turner owns her bass: drummer Peter Hale laid down a great rhythm; Michael Bloch's lead guitar was crisp and versatile and played well against Temple's own complex rhythms and leads; Kristina Lieberson's synths were fluid.

Temple's odd falsetto sounded a little road-worn from time to time, but that's no wonder considering the workout it gets in this strenuous set.

The set included songs from both Pigeons and last year's eponymous Here We Go Magic. While the highlights included this summer's earworm, "Fangela," and the unique "F.F.A.P.," the whole performance was very solid.

This was the band's third appearance in Dallas, and the band made it clear they enjoy the city. And there was a special reason for some of that love--the band gave a warm shout-out of appreciation to audience member Matt Pence of Denton's Centro-matic, who mixed Pigeons and helped give it that great shambolic sound. Bloch also mentioned that the band returns to town in November to open for Dr. Dog.

Meanwhile, opening act Beach Fossils, who deliver a reverb-drenched surf vibe, had trouble finding their groove from time to time. Late in their set, the lead vocalist/guitarist explained why: The band's lead guitarist had just quit without explanation. Given the circumstances of a stand-in guitarist, they sounded pretty good, even if the music was largely a summer confectionary with the shelf life of cotton candy.

Critic's Notebook
Random Note: One of the occasional joys of seeing a band in a venue like The Loft, where there is no back stage to appear from, is catching performers pre-show rituals. Last night there was a very nice moment while the headliners prepared to take the stage where they all exchanged hugs and kisses like good friends.

By The Way: Not realizing who it was, I noticed Luke Temple watching Beach Fossils. He looked exhausted, with a 1,000 yard stare. That weariness disappeared when he took the stage.


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