I got there in the early part of the Bodies of Water set. Already people with badges were being turned away from the door. There was a small crowd of frustrated and nervous people outside. The Bodies of Water were pretty prog and energetic in a way that did it for some, but not really for me.
The crowd continued to swell as Or, the Whale took the stage to set up. After they’d managed to fit the seven of them and all their instruments onto the small Cafe du Nord stage, they did a quick set of mic and instrument tests and launched into their set. It was a mix of new and old tunes with people singing along to “Call and Response”, nodding their heads to “Givin up Time” (with Matt and Linsday singing lead) and quieted down for the beautiful new tune “Shasta”. (I was singing this song most of the walk home.) In the end, the set came and went too quickly.
The Dodos took a while to set up, with their quirky instrumental set up. There was Meric on guitars, vocals, loop pedals and trombone. Logan’s on drums and vocals and tambourine-taped-to-his-shoe. For the first time in the times I’ve seen them, they had a third on stage: Joe, I’m told, of the Gris Gris. He handled vibraphone, toy piano, casio keyboard, gong and trash can (I’m serious).
It’d been months since I’d last seen this band and almost immediately upon the start of their set was I reminded by how much energy they put into their set. They played a set of new and old tunes, including the new and addictive “Jodi” and the old favorite “Fools”, both right near the front of their set.
Meric’s a great guitarist and you can whitness his hand clenched and twitching in such rapid succession to bring out those fast fingerpicked passages. He sings with passion and abandon. But, I must say, the most compelling member of the group is Logan. I was transfixed by the intensity with which he plays the drums. He’s on the edge of his stool or standing up, hands choked up on the drum sticks and his arm a blur of inventive drum patterns.
The group’s non-verbal communication is really something, too. The only other rock group I’ve seen be able to seemingly communicate this well mid-song is the Mates of State and those two are married. Meric and Logan will just glance at each other and seemingly know what to change or what to do next.
They came back for an encore after applause from the appreciative crowd. They played for the encore, I think, three old favorites: (which might have been) “Trades and Tariffs”, “Horny Hippies” and “the Ball”.
Between Or, the Whale and the Dodos, I think everyone that was there got what they were coming for and a little more.
Updated: Photos added. More after the jump or view my photo album.
Or, the Whale: