Lymbyc Systym went on a few minutes after I go to the club. I’d known their name from their tour with The One AM Radio and that group’s Lymbyc Systym remix and I’d heard a few good tunes on their myspace. Going into the show I wanted to make sure I got there in time for their set and I was glad I did.
It was two guys, one on drums and samples (and occasional face contortions) and one on keyboards. They play instrumental music that has touches of electro/ glitchy pop and touches of post-rock. I remember thinking during an Album Leaf set once that I was amazed at the energy and emotion that Jimmy LaValle was able to put into the music; nominally electronic music isn’t usually able to do that. During Lymbyc’s set I was once again amazed at the same thing. They did the swells decrescendos, the dissonance and consonances and the tension and release that marks the best post-rock really well, but they also had nice electronic beats and glitches in there. I found the balance worked really well.
Her Space Holiday came on to a crowd rife with anticipation. I feel like I couldn’t have been the only one to be surprised when a full band was setting up on stage–not just a full band, but a large one–six piece: two guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and a tambourine/ backup vocalist. In the five years since last seeing HSH live–when Marc performed solo, with a laptop and sequencer, if I remember correctly–I’ve listened to Manic Expressions, Young Machines and Past Presents the Future a lot of times. I loved the lush strings and engaging beats.
But here we were, a full band and no laptop. I’ve enjoyed other throw-out-the-electronics-that-were-on-the-album live shows before, but after the lovely warm-up from Lymbyc Systym, I was ready for some glitch pop.
Glitch pop I did not get. The band played new and old songs in a style that reminded me of southern-influenced classic rock bands–and not the ones that I liked. It’s not that Her Space Holiday didn’t play well–they were solid musically–they just performed in a style imitated by countless mediocre bands and didn’t do much to distinguish themselves from those. That mediocrity carried over into how I felt about their set. Perhaps the crowd was simply content or perhaps they saw things the same way as I did because when the main set ended, so the clapping did soon after and I thought I’d see a headliner not get an encore for the first time in a long time. Eventually the band came back on to a smattering of applause.
I shouldn’t leave you thinking that I had a completely average experience across the board with their set, I should mention that I loved their versions of “Tech Romance”, “Sleepy California” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” (part of the encore) were all great and enjoyable.