Asobi Seksu w/ BRAHMS @ Brighton Music Hall 2.25.11

by Chris Stoppiello (English), published March 13th 2011

photos by Alex Taylor (Sociology)

Holy bass, Batman! Brighton Music Hall shook with the bottom-heavy beats of BRAHMS. This being my first show there, I didn’t know if that was typical or if BRAHMS brought the bass. I was shocked when the band asked for the beats to be turned up in the monitors. That must mean it was either too much bass, or not enough. Earthquakes aside, the band made an impressive showing for their first time in Boston. The group opened with ‘€œAdd It Up’€ and ‘€œSubtext is Deadly,’€ well-known tracks for anyone following the band. The setlist contained plenty of new songs but was surprisingly full of previously heard material, which is a pleasant treat from a band yet to release a full length. Other greats included “Repeat it’€ off their just released Add It Up 7-inch and ‘€œBrought it Out’€ from their demo. They also played some new tracks whose names I don’t know, but one gem was possibly titled ‘€œPerfect Room.’€

BRAHMS is certainly a hard-working group of musicians. All three of them were pulling double and triple duty on instrumentation. Singer Cale Parks was the most schizophrenic on stage: controlling the drum machine, playing keyboards and percussion, all while singing. Even guitarist Drew Montag Robinson and bassist Eric Lyle Lodwick were put on keyboard and sampler duty throughout the show. The songs translated very well to a live set with the bits of acoustic percussion enhancing the beats. The only detriment to the set was the volume of the keyboards, which at times were not loud enough to cut through everything else. This is not an uncommon predicament for electronic bands plugging straight in to PA systems. The crowd absolutely loved it; in between songs, shouts of ‘€œThat was awesome” or “You guys are really good” filled the fairly empty room. The band will certainly be winning over new fans on this tour with Asobi Seksu.

Speaking of Asobi Seksu, their fanbase has been mostly secured by now. Are they winning new people over? I don’t think seeing them live is going to do that this time around. One thing was definitely clear from their live show. They are loud. I thought that maybe moving away from the front of the stage would provide for better clarity but even standing by the sound booth sounded like muddled angst. Perhaps the sound guy was the problem. Side note: this confirmed that the bass was the venue and not just BRAHMS; the bar in the back rumbled even for Asobi.

Song to song, it sounded like the same blaring guitar and annoying, screeching keyboard parts. The hour or so of their set kind of blurred in to one long song for me. I do have to admit the drummer Larry Gorman was the star of the band. His energy was well matched with a level of musicianship that kept me paying attention. Guitarist James Hanna also soothed a great deal with his voice. But more songs with him on lead vocals would not have been a bad thing.

If you’re a fan of Asobi Seksu’s electric sound then definitely check out this tour. Everything I disliked will probably be a good time for you. If you’re not an Asobi fan you should still go to at least check out BRAHMS; you’ll be getting your money’s worth with them.

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