The New Pornographers w/ The Dodos and Imaad Wasif
The Fox Theater (Oakland, CA)
July 18, 2010
Everything was going perfectly according to plan— until they started singing. From the moment Dodos frontman Meric Long first spoke into the microphone, people in the audience perplexedly tilted their head à la a Jack Russell terrier, looked at the speakers overhead, and then back to Long. The vocals were muffled and distant, making even music-free banter between songs almost inaudible. His words were nearly completely indiscernible. The audience clearly was missing most everything that was said or sung, so why wasn’t the Fox Theater sound crew even attempting to fix this obvious problem?
After a 43-year period of inactivity, the Fox Theater reopened in early 2009, and by all appearances is one of the premiere venues in the Bay Area. Yet for all its interior beauty, the theater has continued to have problems with perfecting their sound quality, which is a real shame when two class acts like The New Pornographers and The Dodos are playing on the same night. But as percussive elements rule The Dodos’ live performances, and as this was also a primarily New Pornographers crowd, no one in the audience raised a public fuss during the local band’s set. The Dodos stuck mostly to songs from their touchstone album Visiter, a smart move that capitalized on their natural energy and instrumental rawness. Acoustic guitar, drums and vibraphone, played at full force, were all they needed to at the very least sustain the interest of an older, geekier crowd than they normally see. The band soldiered on, with songs like “Fools” and “Jodi” surging into cathartic releases and serving as reminders of how percussion can wonderfully dominate when laid out loud and bare.
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