Saturday, 22 May 2010

Caribou @ Deaf Institute, Monday 19th April, 2010

“Exciting, unpredictable, spontaneous...” Three words songwriter Dan Snaith chose to describe the second date on their Swim album tour.

That’s his brief post-gig analysis, a long time since the panda hat clad Gold Panda, of recent remixes renown, took the stage. The sample-monger’s dashing lazer sounds over electronic beats intersperse with Eno-esque ambient soundscapes; Lemon Jelly at times, house-y floor fillers at others.

So, onwards to Caribou and, with Snaith’s own interpretation in mind, it must be said it is a gig with moments of all of the above. The excitement is easy to tick off; this comes courtesy of the intensity of seeing the band perform live, which is, as ever with Caribou, far more imposing than their recorded output. And this is noticeable on both the sunny Californian psychedelia elements (‘Melody Day’) and the emphatic screaming guitars of ‘Barnowl’, during which drummer Brad Weber raises his sticks to the sky, as if about the unleash hell.

Unpredictable are the shapes on show. There’s a colourful, metamorphing backdrop altering from the Swim cover’s circles through to hexagons, via diamonds and pentagons. And during the ‘Bowls’ percussive face-off, the musical quartet face inwards for a demonic beats rhombus; drum pads and stoic keys alongside that sound a pair of dice make when rattled in a shaker.

You might say the mouthy nutter who appears in the front of the audience towards the end of the set is spontaneous in adding his own overlay of the Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’ lyrics to the minimal trance builds of ‘Sun’. Others on the night choose less subtle descriptions, since he’d previously decided to butcher the classic Alan Partridge ‘Dan! Dan! Dan...’ sketch when calling his mate Dave, whom he seemingly thought would like a closer view alongside him during Caribou's SONAR blip hooks of 'Odessa'.

But Snaith et al don’t complain; merely proceeding to chant their cosmic vocal echoes like hypnotised robots: “Sun, Sun, Sun...” ad infinitum.

Words: Ian Pennington
Pictures: Laurent Du Bus

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