Last night's show at Chop Suey, headlined by the Bran Flakes with Velella Velella and Dat'r, was a strong reminder of the truth of rules 1 and 2 about going to shows. I was feeling a bit tired in the afternoon and evening, I'd had a couple draggy do-nothing days, and I was feeling like I didn't want to bother going out to the show. But I made myself go, and sure enough, it was the right decision. And I made sure to get there in time for the opening act, Dat'r, who were pretty great, proving again that it's always worthwhile to catch the opening act.
Dat'r were a duo using a melange of synthesized and live-sampled beats, keyboards, live miscellaneous percussion (including cymbals, a tom, a pair of bongos, and other noisemakers), and their vocals and beatboxing (sometimes sampling themselves) to make their music. They had a lot going on with the sampling, mixing, and synthesizing; I noted at one point one of them was holding his vocal mic next to the tom while striking the drum, and the other was sampling it and immediately playing the sound back reversed, in time with the beats. It was pretty cool. They were also using game controllers somehow to mix and distort the sounds. It was kind of math-rock but very danceable, and I enjoyed their set a lot.
Velella Velella were a five-member band playing a lot of keyboards and synths, with some guitar and bass thrown in, but beats all provided by drum machines of some kind. They were very groovy and upbeat, and reminded me a lot of U.S.E. though not quite as high energy dance-pop. I didn't take a lot of notes during their set as I was engaged in conversation a lot, so I don't have much else to say, but I did enjoy their set a lot as well.
The Bran Flakes put on much more a wacky performance art event than a concert, involving odd video projections, a bunch of dancers in miscellaneous silly-but-cool costumes (such as a squid), and interactive bits such as getting the audience to follow along with an '80s exercise videotape routine remixed as the song "Bounces". I liked the show, but I couldn't help comparing it a little unfavorably to Head Like a Kite, who have very strong songs and just happen to put on a crazy dance party as part of their concert show. Having said that, I was quite happily surprised when they started playing "Stumble out of Bed", a remix/mashup of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" that I'd heard before on KEXP but didn't remember was by them. They definitely had some good songs, I just felt that overall the music wasn't strong enough to support the rest of the silliness, and the silliness didn't really carry me along either. Still, it was definitely a fun time and I'd recommend checking them out.