Audio and Visual Adventures from the El Rey: Concert Review

Jesse Paller

Roar Musicologist

What better way to give thanks to the Lord for our four-day weekend than to live it up at a concert? On the evening of 11/11 (my wishes coming true), I found myself at the El Rey Theatre with my friend Michael at a concert showcasing some extremely unique performers. A large projection screen behind the bands enhanced the performances with unreal psychedelic visuals.

Jogger– Two singular men comprise this group- the bearded, hippie-looking Amir Yaghmai mans the laptop and beatpad, twisting out his sedated beats, while the spectacled computer engineer Jonathan Larroquette plays guitar and occasionally sings into his violin. This role-switched duo combines to create a sound completely of their own– churning guitars, harmonies straight out of singer-songwriter folk, and occasional crescendos of chiming electronic sound. But while some songs were indeed epic, others were a bit self-indulgent. Their first album, This Great Pressure, encompasses the tamer aspects of their live shows, keeping their pretty songs under five minutes but also (inevitably) removing some of the sonic glory from their highest moments.

“Gorilla Meat”


This song ascends from contemplative strums at the beginning to a bright climax at 3:14 as one of these guys remixes the other’s live playing.

Toro y Moi- The exotic alias for the irrepressible Chazwick Bundick (himself looking like a cross between Kid Cudi and Undercover Brother), Toro y Moi’s first album Causers of This sounds like a hybrid of Passion Pit and Flying Lotus- the sweet vocals and glittering electronics of the first anchored by the purposeful bump of the second’s beats. But live Toro takes a completely different form. Accompanied by a live drummer and a bassist whose uncharacteristic volume gave him, for the night, co-leadership, Bundick delivered rocked-out versions of his tranquil studio works. Dynamic, almost-disco grooves and Smiths-esque bass were some of the surprises of the night. Slower songs still maintained driving, funky pulses. Expecting to be lulled into a dream, I was surprised to find myself dancing, all euphoria.

“Talamak”

Their most popular song so far, bringing the swinging sound of Atlantis to all you eager listeners.

Nosaj Thing- So the stage has been set. The openers have gone on and off. And now the headlining Jason Chung arrives on the stage. At first glance, he looks like an honors student- small, quiet, well-dressed and mild-mannered. And then he activates his equipment and Nosaj Thing emerges, a being possessed by the demons of some of the most extraterrestrial trip-hop anyone has ever heard. Crushing kicks and liquid claps accentuate his stuttering beats, while rich bass lines anchor ethereal choirs and vaporous synths. His music is some of the most original out there and a concert of his is sure to be rewarding. This 45-or-so-minute set never rested and neither did the crowd. Some danced, most nodded like lobotomy patients. All were penetrated by the music, which for the regrettably short time was able to rearrange all of our brain chemicals into those of a creature made solely to act out the otherworldly sounds we heard. His recent album Drift gives listeners a good taste of his striking musical style. Especially recommended are the songs “Fog,” “Lords,” “Us,” and “Aquarium,” the last one recognizable as the beat from Kid CuDi’s “Man on the Moon.” This last one was tricked out a bit at the concert, with heavier drums, thicker bass, on-the-spot manipulations, and of course our ecstatic cheers.

“DJ Set”

This should give you some idea of the innovative creations of this extraordinary DJ.

Article image: http://passionweiss.com

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