Caribou at First Avenue, 9/27/10

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Photos by Benjamin Grimes
Caribou
September 27, 2010
First Avenue, Minneapolis


Caribou mastermind Dan Snaith brought a tight three-piece backing band along with him to First Avenue on Monday night, and they proceeded to light up the Mainroom with their liquid, hypnotic grooves and transfixing visuals that served as the perfect accompaniment to their progressive, modern sound.

The quartet was arranged compactly on the stage, which only complimented the dense pocket of noise the group was generating. The supremely talented band was able to expand on Snaith's already sprawling music, adding experimentation and depth to his inventive songs, while crafting an indelible din that easily transported all of those in attendance choosing to get lost within their invigorating sounds.

After a bit of a rushed version of "Kaili" kicked off the set, the band really hit their stride on a stunning, intoxicating version of "Leave House," that proved to be one of the best songs of the night, despite coming so early on in the performance. Drummer Brad Weber was the rhythmic focal point of the band all evening, driving the songs forward with his wildly original beats, often being joined by Snaith himself, as the duo unleashed a dynamically propulsive rhythm on the receptive audience. John Schmersal (bass) and Ryan Smith (guitar) rounded out the gifted group, with each member adding their own unique flavor to these intricate, towering numbers throughout the ebullient performance. 

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Photos by Benjamin Grimes

Most of Caribou's stellar new album Swim was performed throughout the 70-minute, 13-song set, with expansive, moody versions of "Hannibal," "Bowls," "Jamelia," and main-set closer "Odessa" all soaring while sounding pitch perfect and crystal clear amongst the swelling crowd. It was truly incredible to see a band taking so many experimental chances with their sound, yet remaining so locked in to the new directions the songs were taking. This was especially the case on the untamed, imaginative 10-minute encore of "Sun," which found the band and the crowd genuinely losing themselves within the unconventional number.

And, after a quick thank you, the band was off. Leaving the crowd to try and process what they had just witnessed. Snaith has always said his goal is "to create dance music that sounds like it's made out of water," and on this evening, his music was indeed fluid and turbulent, transcending the venue and the crowd with his visionary sounds, while taking all of us somewhere far more ethereal than a club in the process.

Critic's Bias: Swim is one of my favorite records of 2010, and it was a pleasure to hear these songs recreated live.
The Crowd: A mix between the curious and the diehards, but everyone should have been dancing a bit more than they were. Perhaps if the show wasn't on a Monday, I guess.
Overheard In The Crowd:
"Emeralds (the opener) were fucking terrible."
Random Notebook Dump:
I don't think I've ever heard a band pack as much music into a 70-minute set.
For more photos: See our complete slideshow by Benjamin Grimes.

Setlist:

  1. Kaili
  2. Leave House
  3. ?
  4. Hannibal
  5. Found Out
  6. Melody Day
  7. After Hours
  8. Bowls
  9. ?
  10. Every Time She Turns Round It's Her Birthday
  11. Jamelia
  12. Odessa
  13. Sun (Encore)

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