Live Review: Closeness, Net; Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm August 13, 2018

Closeness at Slowdown Jr., Aug. 10, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

I’ve seen Closeness a few times at O’Leaver’s and have always been moved/impressed with their music, but last Friday night’s show at Slowdown Jr. was next-level in its drive and intensity and overall sound; best set I’ve seen/heard from this duo.

Todd and Orenda Fink set up in their usual face-to-face format aglow in floor floods and LEDs, looking like a couple Amish goth hipsters in their Recapitate headgear (I need to get one of those, sans big-round brim). There’s always a deep density to their sound but Friday’s set felt, well, denser, and had a better flow, enhanced by two new songs (or at least a couple numbers that aren’t on their EP) that were dramatic and dancible, breaking up the monotony of their usual mid-tempo onslaught.

I may be imagining this, but it seems as if Todd is taking more of a lead on the vocals these days, and if there’s a quibble it’s in the overuse of vocoder/digital effects (It was funny hearing him ask for less drums in the monitors in robot voice). Todd has a damn fine voice when it’s unincumbered by techology. But maybe Orenda is supposed to be the “human” to his “robot” on these futuristic duets?

With two new songs, you have to wonder if there’s a new release on the horizon for Closesness. But at the pace in which Todd writes, it could be awhile until we get something in hand, especially if The Faint are also back at it again (They’re slated to play at Cloak & Dagger Fest in LA Nov. 10).

Net at Slowdown Jr., Aug. 10, 2018.

Opening act Oklahoma City’s NET played a strong set of post-rock songs that reminded me of early Devo without their quirk. Fast, spazzy, stacatto rock augmented with synths, they fancy themselves an electronic act, but the guitars dominated from where I was standing. Too often the synths sounded like they were filling in gaps, adding to the clutter rather than enhancing the sound. Because of that, they felt stuck between being an electronic act and a prog-punk band.

Good crowd, though disappointing in size (around 60?).

Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest, Aug. 11, 2018.

Saturday’s Petfest crowd was small but mighty as well, at least when I was there around 7 p.m. to see Those Far Out Arrows play a bad-ass set behind the Petshop in the parking lot.

Bed Rest at Petfest, Aug. 11, 2018.

This is a fun to see a small fest, with a vibe that’s a cross between a SXSW day show and 1968 minus the LSD — laid-back people hanging out with beers behind an orange cyclone fence while some guy sprayed graffiti across the way. Bands played alternating sets inside the Petshop garage, including a roaring Bed Rest, who impressed me with their post-punk bordering on emo rock.

TFOA’s set consisted almost entirely of new songs from their soon-to-be-released High Dive Records debut that is bound to make your best-of-2018 list. I can’t wait to see what happens after these guys hit the road…

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