Archive for August, 2010

Andy Went to a Concert 3: Maps and Atlases

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

“I had the extreme displeasure to see Maps and Atlases play a rock show last week at the Middle East.  Upstairs.  All they did was play really fast and sing really good and wear flannel and be awesome and I hated all of it.  I have a pirannah shoved up my ass and one of these shoved up the other thing.”

Did you like that?  That was my impression of an asshole.  I have been working on it for a while because one day I dream of writing for pitchfork.  –Oh… you thought that was real?  You agreed?  You have gonorrhea (TMI, by the way)?

Here’s the real review: A (the fuck) +

I had the extreme pleasure to see Maps and Atlases play a rock show last week at the Middle East.  Upstairs. They played really fast and sang really well (notice I’m correcting asshole grammar) and wore flannel and were awesome and I loved every second of it.  I have a pirannah shoved up my ass and one of these shoved up the other thing (this, sadly, is still true).

Lead singer Dave Davison or, as I like to call him, “Nearsighted Bigfoot” was all smiles, flannel shirts and frenzied tapped-out solos last week, as he and the rest of the 4-man Chicago outfit played their way through their new album “Perch Patchwork” in Cambridge.  Controlled chaos is really the only way to describe their music.  They take complex drum beats, arpeggio picked solos and slapped out bass parts and somehow make it accessible to the normal ear.  Let me put it this way: they’re trying to make a peanut butter, prosciutto and horseradish sandwich sound appealing.  Each of those things on their own is complex and delicious, but you’d be hard pressed to sell that at a restaurant when you combine them all together.  Magically, however, they’ve actually succeeded in making that Shit-Sandwich the best thing on the Middle East menu. (ZING, Middle East).

About half way through the show I was faced with a particularly biting question.  Is it ok to change my pants in public?  (I was enjoying the show so much I LITERALLY soiled myself). (ok, so I was using the awesomeness of the show as an excuse for soiling myself… sue me.)  (What’s that?  You’re suing me?) (*soils self*)

Admittedly that paragraph was a bit of a digression.  The point is the show was freakin’ sweet!!  The music was fantastically complex and challenging in all of the right ways.  The band was super nice as well.  In fact after the show they said something like “Andy, nice shirt bro!” (…. ok so they didn’t say that).  They did however do something I’ve never seen before, which is offer to play their encore outside, in the cool summer night.

That’s right, they took their instruments and 100 riled up fans out in front of the convenience store next to the club and played a three song acoustic set.  The really amazing thing was, though, that all of these drunk, mindlessly-hollering hipster hooligans showed the utmost restraint during the encore.  The band was playing outside, on the streets, without a permit (yeah you need a permit, Mass really blows sometimes).  But seeing this, and being aware that causing too much of a scene would get their new favorite band arrested (ok not really) they showed support by golf clapping and hushedly singing along to Davison’s already quiet “outdoor voice”.

At one point, a cop stopped by to see what all the hubbub was about (there was a crowd of 100+ people huddled in front of a convenience store) and seeing that this was the most tame rock concert ever, HE WENT ON HIS WAY.  No warnings, no arrests.  Saw the love, and let it be.  This qualifies as an AWESOME show in my opinion.

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