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Saturday, September 26, 2009
The Books / Lymbyc System @ The Southern (09-25-09)
The Books are a band that I have quite a complicated relationship with. Back in 06 while up late one night surfing the web I stumble upon a review for their record Thought For Food. Something in the review sparked my interest and the next day I went out to Plan 9 and picked up a copy of the record (yes there was once a time when I payed money to find out about new music) When I got home and listened to it I was stunned by how brilliant this record was. Never before or again has electronic music sounded so good, organic & beautifully erratic when infused with string instruments. For about a year The Books were on a pedestal for me as an untouchable band. Sadly this title sort of crumbled when my friend Erik showed me their record Lost & Safe. When the record came on I just couldn't believe this was the same band that I had championed. That great organic and erratic feel that I loved so much had been replaced for instead a dumbed down presentation of their electronic infusion. The record in theory isn't as bad as my emotional feelings towards it, but at the same time that doesn't change the fact i just really don't care for that record.
Even with this mixed feeling on The Books now as a group, when I heard that they were going to be playing Charlottesville I couldn't help but feel excited. Screw being pissy about an album of theirs. With the fact they were playing a show near me, added with all the positive talk I had read and heard about their live show, it become quite clear that a road trip to Cville was in-store for me.
The first band of the night was Lymbyc System. They are kind of in the same vein as The Books considering both bands infuse electron with string instruments. Their set was a mix of many on and off moments. Sometimes during the set they would get into a really sweet groove and everything would seem to click just beautifuly, however at other times it just seemed like an kilter jam session where I could tell where the band was trying to go with their musc, but it just never really seemed to click together. To be fair I haven't listened to any of the studio material from this band, so this whole "on and off" thing could just be how they flow in general, or it could be just how their live show was last night.
After a short wait The Books were up next. I am very happy to report that my quasi anxious feelings were completely unnecessary, because The Books really are a terrific live act. From the sweet mind fucking video presentation, to the gorgeous weaving the instruments take through the sea of electronic bliss. These elements are something that just sparks so beautifully live and hits you hard into a joyous numb state. Through out the night The Books used the show to present some new material that I am presuming is gonna be on their next record. While sadly, but not surprisingly it doesn't come close to the material that was on Thought For Food, however it did seem much more intriguing and organic then the material fond on Lost & Safe. My personal favorite of these new songs is a track called Cold Freezing Night. The track is a real fun hyper active number in which The Books use lots of samples of 10 years going crazy on tapes made with Talkboy's (that recording device Macculay Culkin has in Home Alone 2) this track is quite sweet and gets me real excited to see studio cut of this song and others played last night.
Overall the night was quite great. The Southern really started off its life as a venue in quite impressive fashion (even if their building isn't fully constructed yet). I ended leaving the show with the same sort of feeling that I had when I saw Negativland a couple years back. After leaving both of these shows, I felt a little bit like a different person. No huge awakening on life happened after seeing either of those shows, but both shows reminded me of small joys that we all as humans take for granted. Both shows when I think of them made me feel like I grew a little after attending them, and that is something you rarely get from going to a concert.
photo courtesy of matatat
PS: their is a real sweet write up on nailgun right now that really expands quite well on more or less the same feelings i have on the books as a whole. check it out here boi
Posted by Andy Dunlap