Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Live: Mexico 1910

When: 2/22
Where: Brooklyn Women's Shelter Benefit @ Vanishing Point

Once again, a benefit from the Brooklyn Women's Shelter. Once again, I can't find much information online, so if anyone wants to send me information about how to donate, I'll post that here. In the meantime, I did find this page for volunteers, so please consider giving some of your time.

And the music...

When I walked in, the last band of the night was already playing. Mexico 1910 (or at least, I guess that's who it was) is a four-piece band who performed wearing headlamps. It's not totally original - as someone pointed out to me, Animal Collective has done this - but it was still a pretty cool effect.

The first bars I heard were promising - triumphantly building major chords just the way I like them. I thought, 'I'm gonna like this!'

But I was wrong. It turned out the band's swell wasn't leading up to anything, just the rise-and-fall sounds that seem so integral to post-rock instinct. The music tumbled down from the momentum it had built, wandering aimlessly for the rest of the set. Any given minute of the sound could certainly be called beautiful, but strung together, the beauty was overshadowed by monotony. After a couple of minutes, I was very ready for the band to stop.

Although it can look complex and interesting, post-rock is one of the easiest kinds of music to write and play. It requires minimal songwriting skill, minimal vision and minimal true originality. Yes, it requires strong instrumental prowess, and certainly this band was talented in that regard - their equipment gave them a full palette of lovely sounds, and they found and used each one well. Moreover, it was clear the band had spent enough time playing together that they could anticipate and compliment one another effectively. All this leaves no doubt all four are musically talented, but unfortunately, they just don't live up to their potential.

It's not that post-rock is a dead end or that traditional song structures are the only way to hold an audience's attention. But finding something engaging in the wandering, instrumental post-rock is exceptional, and unfortunately, Mexico 1910 is not the exception.

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