Reviews

Maps & Atlases @ The Media Club – April 22nd 2013

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Sometimes showing up on time means that you’re still going to be late.

Made it to the Media Club just a wee bit early before the clock struck 9:30 but I suppose something got mixed up, since the first opener Hustle And Drone were just finishing up a song when I got inside. Neon blue and pink was lighting the stage as three fellas were getting into putting out a cover of ‘Idioteque’ by our beloved Radiohead; which I gotta say was pretty damn good, it’s not often you hear that one covered. I only caught 2 songs of the set, and their final song gave me some reminiscent vibes from when I saw Animal Collective play. The voice modulation and synth was an unexpected, though enjoyed, way to start the night. They have a website, and a band camp; take a look.

Young Man, a group from Chicago (that got a lot of “Wooo Chicago!” love that evening), who came in heavy-hitting on the drums, and kept a forceful beat that never ended. They were a pretty good match for Maps & Atlases I thought; they were an electronic-y indie sound with airy droning electronic sounds, and beeps to fill in the background of their songs as they played out a 6 fairly long song set. I actually really enjoyed it (not that there was any reason not to), and the drums were a huge highlight for me, just loud and raw on top of a more controlled electric sound. Another one to definitely give a listen.

As Maps & Atlases (Dave Davison on guitar/vocals; Erin Elders on guitar; Shiraz Dada on bass; Chris Hainey on drums) set up, a big ol’ bass drum on a stand near the audience was drawing my eyes, and all of a sudden ‘Winter’ from Beware And Be Grateful kicked into action. Though it was ‘The Ongoing Horrible’ and the earlier EPs that really got me into Maps & Atlases, I absolutely love Perch Patchwork and Beware And Be Grateful. Their started out strong with clear and powerful instrumental sound and played perfectly.

‘Pigeon’, from Perch Patchwork was dedicated to the person in the crowd that let out a big old “KAW” for some reason, so well played Bird Guy, you may as well have been a plant. If I remember correctly, there were some timing issues at some point with the song; but you try playing it perfectly, getting that flicking guitar line to match up with everyone else. One of the few older songs they played was ‘Artichokes’ which is from the amazing You And Me And The Mountain EP. It gave people a taste of something older which worked as a crowd-pleaser. Then suddenly they broke out into the last bit of ‘Old & Grey’ (which is my favourite part by far so I’m totally okay with only hearing that part; though it was kind of missing something without the pounding of piano keys butwhatevermovingon) which then led into ‘Remote & Dark Years’, the first single from Beware And Be Grateful.

‘Will’ opens up the Perch Patchwork album (their first LP), with some janky guitar playing and la-la-ing, before fading out into the buzzing that fills the background of ‘The Charm’, which is such a goddamn good song. ‘The Charm’ has this constant buzzing sort of noise, mixed with this metronomic clap/piano/bell/tapping keeping time, while the drums slowly start building up behind the background noise.

Then all of a sudden that bass drum that’s been on that stand, catching my eye, starts booming and the snare starts rattling, and the song builds into this powerful, driving feeling as Davison sings “I don’t think there is a sound that I hate more, than the sound of your voice. When you say that you don’t love me anymore” that makes my eyes bug out and my mouth start frothing as my heart explodes and my forearms and lower halves of my legs split from my body at the joints –

Okay.

That’s enough.

It’s a really good song and really powerful live. I loved it.

I didn’t even mention that the bass drum lit up but since it also did as they played ‘Old Ash’, another from Beware And Be Grateful, all my bases are covered.

Bass drum, bases?

Nevermind.

‘If This Is’ is another one of those really good driving and moving songs from Perch Patchwork, featuring a great guitar line and a slow-down-speed-up pacing. There’s also something about the song that really seems to highlight Davison’s voice for me, which is easily my favourite part of the band, even amongst the creative and different sound that comes from all four members of the band. And then out of NOWHERE, they’re going to switch things up. Which apparently means it’s time to play ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ by Tears For Fears. The crowd was excited, I was excited, everyone was excited. They’ve clearly had a lot of practice playing the song, since it was tight and sounded perfect. Totally unexpected and extremely enjoyed. ‘Living Decorations’ brought things back to Perch Patchwork then back to Beware And Be Grateful with ‘Silver Self’ aaaand back again with ‘Solid Ground’ AAAANNNNND back again with ‘Fever’, which was actually requested by someone who loved being loud earlier in the evening (possibly Bird Guy), and that finished their set off.

A bunch of people foolishly left, which was sort of fitting since people seemed to be coming and going all night, with a lot of people seemingly missing Maps & Atlases whole set.

But that would be completely insane so clearly no one would do that.

Point is, the encore was ‘Daily News’ from You And Me And The Mountain, which had tambourines shaking, a bass drum pounding, and people clapping in an extended intro. The song on the album is about 4 minutes long but when they played that night, they extended the song out as much as possible into a sort of jam session at some points, and even at one point, mixed in a bit of ‘Bugs’ from Beware And Be Grateful, which was an awesome bonus. They had people involved and clapping and dancing, and took a song and really switched things up and gave us something special; and really, that’s what concerts should be all about.

They thanked the audience for having them (which they did after every song), and took from the stage.

It was a great night. Both openers (as much as I got to hear), did a great job and were interesting ways to start the night, and Maps & Atlases didn’t disappoint for a second. They were amazing to see live, and although not that many people were there last night, everyone who was left with a real musical experience that you can’t find with a lot other sounds today. Do yourself a favour and at least listen to Maps & Atlases, and then go see them next time they come here.

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