I was exhausted, but the cold wind woke me up as I zipped through the streets of the Mission on my bike. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go and I was a little burnt out from going to so many shows recently, but I decided a bike ride would be good for me and what better place to ride than the Rickshaw Stop where locals Here Here (unrelated wikipedia entry) and Winterbirds (myspace) and Portland band Musee Mechanique (named after one of my favorite SF institutions) were on the bill.
The first band to break through the chattering crowd was the Winterbirds. They started with a guy and a girl, two vocals, fingerpicked guitar and electronic piano and during the next song, they added in drums and bass. It took a few minutes but I realized that the vocals, their sound and the harmonies reminded me a lot of Low, while the chord progressions reminded me, as clarified by Burton of the Botticellis, of Pedro the Lion. All in all, they have a pretty solid slowcore thing going. I liked their set.
I didn’t buy their (homemade?) EP that night, but I now I’m kicking myself, especially after listening through some of their myspace songs again. I tried getting in contact with them to get it, but to no avail. Winterbirds, please sell me your record! (Contact info here.)
During the set break, I noticed most of the Morning Benders were there. We chatted. Nice guys. Apparently they were there to see Here Here.
I’d come to see Musee Mechanique, though I didn’t know a lot about them other than their myspace songs. They had a good sound with keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and a few people taking turns at lead and background vocals. The songs themselves were a bit hit and miss–well, I should clarify, there were some songs that I really liked and some that didn’t quite do it for me. Overall a nice set.
Here Here came up and immediately reminded me of the Arcade Fire: not only did their set up have accordion, trumpet, violin, keys, guitars, drums, bass, etc, but some of their song structures did the swirling beginning that solidifies before the vocals enter and then the rest of the band enters later thing that the Arcade Fire does quite a bit. And some of the vocal interjections were similar as well. I’m not saying a band can’t be reminiscent of another band, but I found this similarity distracting.
After a half dozen songs, I decided to head out, back onto my bike, speeding through the still brisker air and more deserted streets.