Live - Fuck Buttons & Caribou @ Record Bar | KC





Someone once said "music wipes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Since my dust bunnies seem the size of a double-wide, I was hoping this was true when I went to see Caribou last night. As I stepped out of my door I actually thought to myself, "if they can make me forget my worries tonight, I'll be impressed." I wasn't trying to put pressure on the lads. I just wanted what so many people want from a live show - transcendence.

As I walked into the show, noise blared from Fuck Buttons' amps, and I watched as they began their set with a song that initially had the characteristic of a great starting song - anticipation like a hey-this-show-is-really-starting tease. The downside was the song kept building in anticipation for what seemed like ten minutes and didn't climax until the very end. The crowd, which remained very still during this build up, started to move during the climax, but stopped as abruptly as the song itself. At this point I questioned whether or not we would need to bring back the mind-destroying drugs, glow sticks, and music that actually encourages us to move around rather than remain perfectly still while watching two dudes behind boards. I held on to my hope of transcendence as Fuck Buttons began their second song. This song began with a climax and ended with live percussion on top of what was already programmed. This jam was a bigger crowd pleaser than the first song, and just when I thought "okay, now we're going somewhere," the set ended. Two long songs and a set that was all anticipation and minimal climax - just like my pathetic love life.

Caribou has a very crowded stage. They have; two drum kits, as many pedals as Sonic Youth, lots of amps, keys and sequencers, four people, three guitars, and smaller instruments like a recorder and xylophone. The good news is that they use all of these toys and use them well.

If you haven't seen Caribou live you really don't know what they're capable of. Songs like "Bees," "After Hours," and "Skunks" are far more powerful live. I liked their songs when they were coming out of my headphones, but I loved their songs when they were coming out of the amps on the stage. Their audience can't escape all of the nuances that make up each song.

The bass line in "Bees" is deeper and sexier live, and the xylophone on "Crayon" is far more charming on stage than through headphones. In a live setting, the drums and bass go for it full-throttle in every song and Ahmed doesn't just hit it - he bangs the hell out of his drums. When both Dan and Ahmed are playing drums it's really on.

In addition to having four talented people on the stage, there's also a projection screen with images that really adds to the overall vibe (these images are available on a DVD as well) and sequencers that are used in tasteful and intricate ways.

Dan Snaith is a great multi-instrumentalist. He's not showy; he just gets it done and plays off his band mates in a joyful way. During the set he sang, played guitar, xylophone, a recorder, drums and keys. He made it all look really easy. The entire band made it look easy and, in character of a group of musicians who work well together, they played off of each other and the crowd very well.

The only thing wrong with their set was the sound on the vocals. I think they had to decide on what was going to overpower sonically, and they wisely chose instruments rather than vocals. Since everything coming out of the mics sounded muffled, the vocals were hard to hear when standing in front of the stage as well as at the back of the venue, but I had to keep in mind that the songs focus on sounds and instrumentation rather than lyrics.

It only took one song before Caribou had me transcending. During their thirteen song set (and encore), I didn't think about the dust in the corners or the dust that had been convoluted my brain all day. I just thought, "damn, this sounds loud and lovely."

Set:
"Sundialling"
"Brahminy Kite"
"Melody Day"
"Skunks"
"Sandy"
"After Hours"
"Crayon"
"Barnowl"
"She's the One"
"Bees"
"Eli"
"Hello Hammerheads"
"Final Warning"

Encore:
"Every Time She Turns Round It's Her Birthday"

Photos by Michael Forester

Caribou
Fuck Buttons

Posted:
Live - Fuck Buttons & Caribou @ Record Bar | KC