Caribou, Emeralds Change My Mind about Webster Hall

30 Sep
Once upon a time I went to shows a lot at webster hall. Then the day came when I attended a $1-before-midnight MSTRKRFT show and ended up getting punched in the face while nearly having my camera broken.  That was two years ago and after that night, I had no intention to seeing any further shows at Webster Hall, under the impression that the space was a huge, smelly, slippery moshpit for wastey-faced kids. My mind was changed last week, when I saw Caribou invigorate the place with a new, awesome kind of energy.

It’s a great story, actually, how I ended up at the show. I love Caribou. Caribou is Dan Snaith- Manitoban Musician Genuius, but he plays with a full band, with whom he splits his tour profits equally. Pretty sweet. Anyway, they played this past summer at Governor’s Island for a free show and it blew my mind. I was transformed into a fan immediately and had every intention to see them again on Sept 22. When the time came to, though, I learned of a free DJ set the night before, and decided I would attend that instead of the concert, being broke. Little did I know that I would end up meeting members of Caribou [amazing people] at the DJ set that night and end up being guest listed for the show the following day. I really love these New York Moments.

Emeralds opened, a band I had never heard of, and Caribou admitted they had only gotten matched up with because of an awesome Pitchfork review. They were pretty darn good though. Their sound is something of a *sparkly* psychedelic stew of piercing guitar noise and minimal melodies layered with pretty keyboard loops. They were a little on the boring side live, but their album itself keeps the listener energetic and feeling awfully trippy.
Video for “Candy Shoppe”

Caribou rocked the fucking house down. Dan’s sound is hard to explain- imagine Miike Snow meeting Panda Bear for a cup of lcd-laced tea at Arthur Russell’s cottage. All in all, the full sound incorporates everything from shoegaze pop to beat-driven electronic to drone-jam, instruments vary from guitar to synth to saxophone, and oh yeah, cowbell, triangle, and wooden flutes. Their latest album, Swim, was where they pulled most of their live tracks from. This album is meticulously beat-driven and this is seen most in some of their best new songs like ‘Odessa’ and ‘Leave House.’ All the same, this album showcases Dan’s vocals more than previews LPs, and though his voice is thin at times, it’s melodic, haunting and like a flashlight breaking through the exotic layering of the songs.
Live, Caribou’s songs come to life even more than on the record. The crowd was swaying together, glowsticks shining, sweat dripping. The visuals were also spectacular. My friend Lauren described their stage set up as them “gathering around the table for dinner.” Indeed, they all sit in a cluster in the center of the stage, facing each other, working off of one another in a spectacular and hypnotizing way. Besides being practically the nicest frontman ever, Dan has the best energy and we absorbed it like one, but, webster-y sponge. Everyone was dancing like crazy.  The highlight of the concert was definitely the encore of “Sun,” Caribou’s most infamously trippy song, that we had been waiting for the entire night. It was hard to find a single body that didn’t belt out “SUN!… SUN SUN SUN SUN!” at one point or another.

It was a amazing show. Of course, being VIP’d at Webster hall is a much nicer experience than having to pay and being denied access to the beautiful and majestic upstairs balcony lounge. Saying ‘what up’ to the tour manager and getting smiled at from the band onstage never hurts, either. Now I’m just bragging, but it was the icing on the dope-ass cake that is Caribou live.


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