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Kayo Dot - Atlanta - November 18, 2013

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HolyMoly View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Kayo Dot - Atlanta - November 18, 2013
    Posted: November 20 2013 at 15:14
The Venue:  "The Goat Farm Performing Arts Center" - a hip little joint in an area of Atlanta once dominated by decaying old buildings and dilapidated industrial parks, now populated by stylish loft apartments and hip restaurants and coffee shops.  Where "shabby-chic" is the look of the day.  I had been to this venue once before, and was impressed by its intrigue and ambiance. It actually used to be a goat farm, and was separated by the otherwise industrial surroundings by a long private drive that dead-ended into a series of old farmhouses, looking much like an old movie set you might find at Universal Studios.  Arriving in the dark for a very un-crowded show made it even more eerily cool.  But here's what it looks like in the day time:



Upon my arrival, I was glad to learn that the opening band had already begun playing.  The last time I had been there, hours had passed before anyone even thought about going onstage.  Apparently, I thought, this venue abides by the time-honored Rule of Young Nightlife:  nothing cool ever happens before 11:00 PM.  But here it wasn't even 9:30 and three guys were playing music onstage.  This was going to be a good night.  And it only got better from there.

The opening band was a trio by the name of TAKENOBU - melodious folk rock performed on amplified cello, vocals, violin, and drums.   Enticing textures and passionate songs, making for a nice warm-up act.



AND NOW.... PLEEEEASE WELCOME... FROM NEW YORK CITY....  KAYO DOT!!! (*crowd goes wild*)

See that picture above?  That was the whole room.  Tiny little place.  The elite backstage area did not exist.  There was no huge announcement, the band set up their own stuff, and there they were.  TOBY DRIVER IS STANDING RIGHT THERE OH MY GOD PINCH ME.    And without any ado at all, they just.... started playing.  Oh boy, did they play.  They played about 2/3 of HUBARDO and one track from CHOIRS.  Here's what happened:

THE SET LIST:

The Black Stone -- the band gradually creaks into this ominous opening number, track one from the latest masterwork HUBARDO.  Keith Abrams took his drum sticks and SCRAPED them really hard over his cymbals, making a scary and harsh screeching sound.  Toby Driver performs the low growling vocals while the band (just a four-piece - Driver, Abrams, Ron Varod on guitar, and Daniel Means on keys and sax) creates abstract swells of discordant sound behind him, growing in intensity and busy-ness as the lengthy piece progresses.



Vision Adjustment to Another Wavelength -- to those of you who have heard HUBARDO this is that song that has that sudden unexpected flute solo in the middle. 

And He Built Him a Boat -- One of HUBARDO's undeniable highlights, a superbly melodic epic ballad.





Zlida Caosgi (To Water The Earth) -- another of HUBARDO's, strange multifaceted pieces.  I'm still trying to get my hands around this one.

The First Matter (Saturn In The Guise Of Sadness)
-- "Do you all like chorus pedals?  If you do, you'll like this next one,"  Toby says.  This song showcases the mellow side of HUBARDO's mammoth reach.  The first half reminds me a lot of The Cure's "Faith" album, with the prominent echoey lead bass over synthesized backdrop.  Means and Varod both man the keys for this one, with Varod playing what looks like an iPad.  SCIENCE!  For the second half, Toby switches to the electric piano sound as Ron picks up his guitar again, and Means trots over to the iPad.  Holy Zart Charts, Batman, Look at them go!



Floodgate -- Have you heard Floodgate?  This song is just relentless.  7 minutes of tightly controlled chaos and mayhem.  Controlled chaos?  Kind of an oxymoron but that pretty much describes it.  Driver and Varod playing all over the neck in 15 different time signatures as Keith Abrams (a supremely talented drummer) holds it all together with loose-limbed abandon, alternating blastbeats with swinging jazz beats and oblong tom rolls at a whiplash-inducing pace.  Mixed in with all this mayhem were Driver's screams and Means' Zorn-like alto sax decorations.  And yet, the result was a beautiful/ugly sound painting that may not make total sense, but it does leave a vivid image in your head (and ears) when it's over.  After the applause died down at the end of the song, a girl behind me said, "PLAY THAT ONE AGAIN!" Exclamation  I wish I had the perfect comic timing this young lady displayed.  Perfect way to loosen the crowd's collective sphincter at, let's face it, A PRETTY INTENSE SHOW SO FAR.  Toby, without missing a beat, replies that Keith is going to play it again as a solo.   He was just kidding, of course.

Passing the River -- One of my favorites from HUBARDO, mainly because there's no death metal in it (not that I don't like Floodgate, but geez, I'm 44 years old and not as strong as I used to be).   It's a quiet number for the first few minutes, with a gentle melody sung (yes, sung!  he can sing really well in case you didn't know) by Driver. The song then breaks down for a moment, letting Ron Varod shape some amplifier worship into a series of thick, dark, detuned guitar chords and feedback.  The band joins him for an emotional swelling midsection (no, I'm not talking about my waistline) before concluding the song quietly as it had begun.



And then the mighty Keith Abrams stands up from behind his drum kit.  He's a big guy.  He announces that he has just broken his snare drum head.  Oh no!  This not being Van Halen, there was no helpful roadie to run a brand new one out to him on the stage.  Luckily, TAKENOBU's drummer was still in the house and lent Keith his snare drum to play the last song of the set.  "Don't worry," he assures the drummer, "this is kind of a nice song," imparting the relieving news that he wouldn't subject his beloved snare drum to another Floodgate.

A Pitcher of Summer -- I sometimes jokingly refer to this song as Kayo Dot's "hit".  Even sitting as a relatively puny five-minute song amongst the other monoliths that make up the rest of CHOIRS OF THE EYE, this song is and has always been a standout track, and one of the best encapsulations of what makes Kayo Dot what they are.  Quiet, gentle, lulling you into a trance, getting more and more tense, and somewhat disturbingly ending with a pair of screams over aggressively played chords.

We all clapped for an encore, but there was none.  I was a little disappointed, but only for a moment.  After all, I'd just seen an hour and 15 minutes of some pretty dense intense music, probably worth about 7 hours of most bands' music.    Plus there was the snare drum problem, and, well, I was thrilled as punch to be getting home before midnight, being old (44 years, see above) and all.

Varod and Means were at the merchandise booth after the show and I bought a couple of CDs off them.   They had vinyl copies of HUBARDO too.   HEY!  I pre-ordered that sumbitch back in April, and now some schlubb can just walk in off the street and buy one while my mail box still sits empty?  Ron says they JUST got them in, and will mail all the pre-orders out as soon as they possibly can.  WELL YOU BETTER, I said.  No, of course I didn't say that.  I'm a real friendly and PATIENT guy who can easily wait another week or so for my VINYL copy of HUBARDO that I've been anxiously waiting MOST OF 2013 for.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful show.  Please go support this band.  And if you live in Philadelphia, well, better luck next time.*


* Philly show cancelled. Unhappy**



Edited by HolyMoly - November 21 2013 at 12:48
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Padraic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 15:24
Glad you had such a great time and way to rub it in my face LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 15:41
Sorry I had to mention Philadelphia at the end there. Embarrassed

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Post Options Post Options   Quote rushfan4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 15:42
Cancelled on account of the broken snare drum? Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 15:45
I haven't been following Kayo Dot recently, or their live performances, but no Mia Matsumiya?  Broken Heart
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Padraic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 15:56
Originally posted by Logan

I haven't been following Kayo Dot recently, or their live performances, but no Mia Matsumiya?  Broken Heart

She played on one the tracks on the new album, but she's out in LA (I think) and really can't tour with them.

I believe their newest album is their best yet and is worth checking out.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 16:06
Originally posted by Padraic

Originally posted by Logan

I haven't been following Kayo Dot recently, or their live performances, but no Mia Matsumiya?  Broken Heart

She played on one the tracks on the new album, but she's out in LA (I think) and really can't tour with them.

I believe their newest album is their best yet and is worth checking out.


Thanks for letting me know -- though I figured something like that would be the case, not seeing her in the pics or seeing her name mentioned got me strangely concerned even though I should have expected she was likely out in LA (my memory has become a slippery place).


I will check out the new album (though I think I'd miss her violin in much of the album).  I haven't heard Gimme a Knife (erm, Gamma Knife) yet either. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 16:12
I wish she'd been there too.  I get the impression this tour was done as "lean and mean" as possible - a very stripped down lineup that nonetheless managed to cover a lot of instruments between them.  Some of their other albums have used Mia's violin as a very prominent component to the sound, but Hubardo just isn't that kind of album.  Mia's present but isn't part of the core band like she's been in the past, and I can probably guess she will be in the future, if we're lucky.

Edited by HolyMoly - November 20 2013 at 16:13
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Post Options Post Options   Quote smartpatrol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 16:31
Sounds like a fantastic show! Why does no one come to St.Louis  Cry
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bloodnarfer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2013 at 17:35
That sounds like an excellent range of songs for the setlist. But it would be nice to see Mia there and a couple songs from Coyote Smile  Again, I'm really jealous.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2013 at 07:32
Excellent review you did there Steve-oClap
Man I'm really jealous, and I am not that into this band in the first place...just goes to show what good subjective journalism can bring out in people.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Bearded Bard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2013 at 09:19
Nice review, Steve. Made me want to get the lead out and check these guys' music  out. Been planning to for a while.
 
Also, sounds like you had a hell of a good time! Cool


Edited by The Bearded Bard - November 21 2013 at 09:26
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Neck Romancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2013 at 12:34
That's not Terran Olson, Steve - that's Daniel Means Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2013 at 12:46
Originally posted by The Neck Romancer

That's not Terran Olson, Steve - that's Daniel Means Wink
You know, I was worried about that.  There were 2 guys on the album who played woodwinds and I just picked one and hoped I was right.  Thank you for pointing out my error - I will fix it in the review.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Neck Romancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2013 at 13:06
You're welcome, Steve-O. Terran Olson is the one who looks like Gandalf.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 04 2014 at 22:31
I know this is old but just got around to reading it. Pretty dang excellent review.
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