Philip (philaros) wrote,

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[robot] I - AM - ELECTRO [/robot] (June concert: Meat Beat Manifesto at Neumos)

Thursday night I went to Neumos to see Meat Beat Manifesto and Dub Trio. I had already noticed when looking over concert listings for this month that MBM were playing, and thought that might be interesting; then Tony Sacco asked if I'd be interested in going as he and the rest of Library Science wanted to check out Dub Trio.

Dub Trio turned out to be amazingly good. They were something like a cross between Kinski and, well, Library Science (I'm not familiar enough with the dub scene to offer another band for comparison). They would start a song out as a thrashing punk rock tune and slide right into a dub groove. Then the song might shift seamlessly into a dreampop/art rock instrumental before returning to the dub, and finish with power rock guitar flourishes again. Their sound also reminded me at times of the Police and the English Beat; they could have easily done a cover of the Police and it would've fit right in. Dub Trio showed a lot of musicianship, both in their playing ability and in the composition of their music. I bought the CD, and I'm looking forward to hearing more from them.

If there is a manifesto behind Meat Beat Manifesto, it is perhaps best expressed by the sample that opened their set, a 1950s-era "robot" declaring "I AM ELECTRO". Their gear included no fewer than four PowerBooks, and I overheard another concertgoer referring to the banks of computers and electronic gear as a "technological Mecca," which was very apt. Three guys manned the electronic gear - the MBM website tells me that they were Jack Dangers, who essentially is Meat Beat Manifesto, with Mark Pistel playing additional laptop/samples, and Ben Stokes handling the dual video projections - and a fourth guy, Lynn Farmer, played a mean set of drums across the stage.

I did not know much about MBM before the show - not how long they'd been around, or how many albums they'd done, or what the hits were - mainly I knew one song fairly well, called "It's The Music," that my sister had on a CD compilation several years ago, and I knew I'd heard other songs but wasn't sure what to expect. So I was quite pleased when they pulled out "It's The Music" about halfway through the set. At the start of the set, I was still pretty close to the front and right under one of the main speakers, but I found that too overwhelming and moved to the back, where the balance and volume were better. They played quite a long set, close to two hours, with another 20 minutes or so for an encore; I stayed to the end, but by the end of the main set I'd had enough. Overall I actually enjoyed the set less than the first: Dub Trio's music is for listening, while MBM is more for dancing, not that you couldn't dance to Dub Trio or enjoy MBM as background music. Still, I do plan to pick up some of Meat Beat Manifesto's albums now, as I definitely want some of that music in my mix.
Tags: concerts, dub trio, meat beat manifesto, neumos

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