I have a theory that says if you see a band three times, the spark vanishes. The initial decadence that roped you into their material disappears, and you can forget ever seeing them again. It happened with Coldplay, so I'm sure I have a lot of knowledge on this topic.
Thus, I was a little antsy to see Moving Units play for their third time in my concert roster history. Their debut full length Dangerous Dreams was on my top records list from 2004, and a quick tutorial in calendaring can tell you that was a long time ago. Nothing new ever came, and a San Francisco gig back in the spring of this year was cancelled. Were they going to deliver tonight?
I brought my best friend Melissa to the Cafe du Nord show, and as we walked down into the cozy former speakeasy, we both couldn't help but wonder what the boys had been up to all these years since "Between Us And Them" dominated local clubs. While I opened a tab at the bar and we sipped our beers, I noticed the frontman for M>U walk through and I wanted to grab his elbow, pull him into me for a hug, and proclaim, "Where have you been all this time?!"
We ended up sitting out on SoCal openers Test Your Reflex - Melissa even observing "They're singing about radios and synthesizers, what the hell dudes" - and at the end, their closing song sounded like a cross between a Fischerspooner soundcheck and a bad recording of the Cure. I was very, very confused, having listened to some of their stuff on their MySpace page trying to prep for their set.
The Deadly Syndrome fared much better, mostly because their indiepop-infused-with-a-little-synth-twang vocals sounded better rehearsed and tighter. In later research I found such song titles as "The Ship That Shot Itself" and "I Hope I Become A Ghost." Brilliant.
As M>U took the stage, I thought back to my theory and started to list off bands where that had happened. The Velvet Teen. Radiohead. Interpol. These were bands that I've seen almost a half a dozen times apiece, though, and every time was phenomenal. Was my theory really just that? A theory?
The Units ripped through opener "Anyone" and immediately I saw that I was being a 'tard and just needed to shut up and dance. M>U were doing the whole discopunk thing right before it shot out artists like The Rapture into the dance clubs; unfortunately, M>U never saw the glitz and the fame others did for the movement, and faded into obscurity shortly thereafter. Based on new material showcased at du Nord's show, however, I would strongly contend for M>U's arrival back into a niche they helped to create, and for them to be kicking everyone's ass along the way. "Dark Walls," "I Want It, I Got It," and "Paper Hearts," some of the new tunes played, all encompass the common traits that made me, and many others, fall in love the first time - sharp, smartly written bass lines, light synth-y percussion to be reminiscent of New Order but not enough to be annoying, and lots and lots of guitar, layered and polished for ultimate effect. Coupled with "X&Y," "Melodrama," and "Birds of Prey," I was in discopunk heaven.
"Every time I come to San Francisco, it gets sweeter and sweeter," the lead singer told the adoring and sweaty crowd during a break in songs. Well, every time you come to see us in SF, Mr. Unit, I am glad to see you.
"Dark Walls" (new)
"Birds of Prey"
"Pick Up The Phone" (new)
"I Want It, I Got It" (new)
"I Am The Same Now" (new)
"Between Us & Them"
By Jenn Hernandez