Port O’Brien @ Union Hall 8/15/08
I decided to check out the Port O’Brien/Bodies of Water concert at Union Hall on Friday mainly because Port O’Brien will be performing at the Monolith Festival in Denver next month and I wanted to do some pre-festival scouting. I enjoyed the set, but it took me a while to get into it. This is probably because I didn’t know any of the songs. The sound is indie rock, with the additional/eccentric instrument of choice being the banjo. The band, from California, had been in NYC for a few nights, and had played a show at Mercury Lounge earlier in the week. The lead singer declared NYC to be the best city in the world, and then after realizing it probably sounded like an “insert-current-city-name-here” comment he makes at every show, he reiterated the fact, though with more sincerity and slight envy that the crowd could call this city home. The band ended with a song so lively and foot-tappingly good that I wished they played it earlier in the set. After distributing various pots, pans, and covers (plus a tambourine snagged by the crowd member doling out the instruments), Port O’Brien asked for the crowd to bang along for the song, “I Woke Up Today,” making it quite the communal effort. The energy in the basement soared as the crowd excitedly contributed their musical talents.
Unfortunately, the energy of the Port O’Brien set was not carried over to the Bodies of Water set, mainly because much of the crowd left. I stayed to listen to a few songs, but it was clear that Port O’Brien was the main band of the night. Bodies of Water was an imposing presence on stage, with four band members facing the crowd head on, in a line across the small stage. They didn’t move much either. The main vocalists are a guy (with a guitar) a woman (on the keyboard). It was slightly disconcerting to watch them since the man looked and sounded like Brandon Flowers of The Killers, while the woman sounded like Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame (and she had a similar haircut as well). The result was a sound that seemed to be a mix of elements that did not come together in a good way. And the style even seemed to change over the course of one song, so I had trouble following it. I can’t say I’ll rush out to buy their music, but I will keep an ear out for Port O’Brien.
Filed under: concert reviews | 1 Comment
Tags: concerts, port o'brien, union hall