Last Tuesday at the Bottle was a real treat because there were not just one or two, but three great bands to see, who oddly enough were all composed of exactly three people. Portland Oregon’s Menomena played a fantastic set with a good collection of songs that varied between more typical indie rock fair and swept up instrumentals (sometimes within the very same song as in the case of “Cough, Coughing.”) Field Music from the UK also played an engaging 45-minute set that felt a little more light hearted than Menomena’s. Montreal’s Land of Talk opened up the set modestly but with promise playing songs from their album Applause Cheer Boo Hiss.
Although this was my first time seeing all three bands of the night, I was perhaps most excited about the headliner. After reading Nicole’s blog The Perfect Face for Radio and learning about this band, I was excited to see how their music would translate to a live setting. I was not disappointed and to be honest, I am surprised that I had not heard of this band previously, seeing as how they now have three full length albums out. Playing to a sold out crowd, they alternated voices and instruments creating an unbelievably full sound. It was also nice to see that they each had their own vital contributions especially considering multi-instrumentalist Justin Harris who played sax, guitar, and an organ with his feet. All three band members alternate with the singing, which adds for a nice variety as well. Flooding The Bottle with sound, it felt like the equivalent of discovering a new exciting city. Although the songs are encased in a heavy melody, they didn’t for an instant drag. One sensed it was heartfelt by both the band and the audience.
I’ve been a fan of Field Music for quite some time and have listened to their self-titled release on repeat on many occasions. It has a good flow to it and is not too rock or pop-oriented, but finds a good balance. Like Menomena, there was much switching of different roles and parts played for different songs, with some switching between drummers and lead singers. The keyboards also annunciated the melody lines. I’ve noticed for some reason that many British bands seem to really want to put out a great stage presence and performance (more so than American bands at least) and Field Music was no exception. Though the technical difficulties were very minor and their set was definitely enjoyable, they humbly downplayed their live performance asking the audience not to base what their albums sounded like from their stage performance. I would have said that their set was consistent with their recorded material but in a complimentary way….and what is it about British accents that make the people using them seem so much cuter!
Download: Field Music - "Tones of Town"
I love my Canadian bands so of course I was excited about Land of Talk, who definitely showed some promise. I think in their case, they might really benefit from a fourth member because, although their songs are at times very engaging, they need something to set them apart from being your standard indie rock band. Their playing was tight and I am finding their album Applause Cheer Boo Hiss enjoyable enough so hopefully they will have many great songs ready to be created in their future.