Kata Rokkar — Kata Rokkar – A Bay Area based blog about music, life and stuff by Shawn Robbins.Kata Rokkar — Kata Rokkar – A Bay Area based blog about music, life and stuff by Shawn Robbins.

noise-pop

NOISE POP 2012 // SHOW REVIEW: Atlas Sound at Bimbo’s 365

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03/6/2012

Concerts, Featured, Music, Noise Pop Festival 2012, Show Review

Upon entering Bimbo’s 365 aka San Francisco’s classiest venue, I could tell that Atlas Sound (the solo project of Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox) had its own diverse audience. I did not expect so many teens and pre-teens to be attending this unusual showcase. I guess I’ve underestimated Bradford’s reach when it comes to grabbing a youthful audience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I’m all for our youth to experience anything but what’s being force feed to them on the radio nowadays. However, what I definitely did not expect was the utterly bizarre opening acts for Atlas Sound.

Seventeen Evergreen

Seventeen Evergreen

Seventeen Evergreen

Seventeen Evergreen

Seventeen Evergreen opened with drum heavy and psychedelic number that proceeded with a male and female “Yarn People.” Or how I put it, a weird hipster witness protection program. Anyway, the band had a slight flare of world music to it with a heavy hand on Animal Collective-style experimental folk. No song had a certain structure or repeated catchiness that could be differential from one song to the next. I can’t say I was won over but I will say I was interested in hearing their recorded material. They seemed to compensate with their weird Yarn People dancers for whatever live presence they didn’t present. Nevertheless, parts of the crowd were very much into them. At one point, an audience member asked about the song they just played and the band reacted in an adorable amount of enthusiasm. Maybe this was noticeable because it was the first time in their whole set where they showed genuine emotion.

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Seventeen Evergreen – Angels from Psyentist EP (2011)

Electric Flower

Electric Flower

Next up was the freak-folk act Electric Flower aka Josh Garza and Imaad Wasif. This performance featured only Imaad Wasif himself, as he towered over the crowd like some kind of vaudeville Jack The Pumpkin King with a guitar. The music is not unlike the band name; moments of gentile acoustic emotion which is interrupted by blast of heavy distortion and post-punk drone. He stood stoic and blank, which was confusing since the music had a weird soulfulness to it at times. It was too easy to detach from what I was watching though. When Imaad would drift off into a solo psychedelic jam session, he would all of a sudden digress into some kind of Middle Eastern atmospherics that didn’t seem to fit with the flow of the song. It was pretty easy to get distracted while this was happening.

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Electric Flower – Eclipsed from Electric Flower EP II (2012)

Atlas Sound

Atlas Sound

Finally, Mr. Bradford Cox entered the stage solo and armed with only a few guitars, bass, and an arsenal of various pedals and loopbacks. The crowd was held hostage by his genuine sincerity and disarming demeanor during songs like Parallax and My Angel is Broken. An alternate and less poppy version of Walkabout won me over and my favorite Atlas Sound track, Sheila was performed in all its catchy and charming glory. This was all well and good for any average concert goer and would be a slightly memorable evening for someone that is a fan of Bradford’s work, but then the mood changed…

Atlas Sound

After playing a slight cover of The West Coast Experimental Pop Art Band and asking the audience if they knew who he was playing, a short and nerdy13 year old answered correctly and got the privilege to be invited on stage with Bradford. For a moment, Bradford stared intently at the boy with a look of familiarity. Then it hit him. “Can’t you see it? I saw that face every day when I brushed my teeth!” Bradford then proceeded to have the most hilarious 20 minute mental freak-out I have ever seen at a concert. He gave advice, “Don’t listen to records all day inside” “Spend more time with your parents.” He connected with the kid by telling a story of how he saw Stereolab cover the same song when he was 13. He even had the little doppelganger play shakers while he layed the last song of the night, Terra Incognita.

Atlas Sound

The on-stage interaction had take up what would have been three or four songs. An obnoxious and unappreciative audience member would yell out to play a song a few times but Bradford would snap back with, “Don’t you understand how important this is right now?!?!” It was a truly organic and captivating display of vulnerability from Bradford. What could have been your basic Atlas Sound show turned into the most wonderful moment I have witnessed at Noise Pop Music Festival. Anyone with a soul would share the same sentiment.

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Atlas Sound – Te Amo from Parallax (2011)