Let Me Entertain You: Concert Rundown, 8.2 – 8.8.10

I didn’t plan on doing full reports on the following concerts, but I figure that they were all fun enough to warrant some recognition.  I also couldn’t have imagined three more different types of shows to attend in less than a week.  That either makes me quite worldly in my tastes, or just extremely busy.

Arcade Fire @ Mann Center 8.2.10

Someone, somewhere (and probably in not too much time) will look back on this show as the Philadelphia concert event of the summer.  While that may or may not be an exaggeration, the Arcade Fire put on one impressive show.  Picking the best material from their latest, The Suburbs, the massive band easily won the crowd over with the new material.  While the record’s pacing and overstuffed content is its biggest fault, the concert focused on highlights such as “Rococo” and “”Sprawl II.”  Favorites from Funeral and Neon Bible were plentiful, too, with the “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out” into “Rebellion (Lies)” transition being particularly potent.  The grandest of finales came with the encore performance of “Wake Up,” whose choral refrain is immensely satisfying when sung at the tops of over 10,000 pairs of lungs.

Local Natives @ First Unitarian Church 8.6.10

This concert was supposed to happen well over a month ago.  Local Natives even kept their Free @ Noon date for the Friday when their canceled show would have been.  The wait may have been long, but the show itself was brisk, brief and exhilarating.  All but one of the songs from Gorilla Manor were represented, making this one of the most enjoyable concerts from an album-listeners’ perspective.  As expected, the band’s fleeting yet thrilling upbeat moments in “Camera Talk,” “Airplanes” and “Sun Hands” got the crowd all jumpy.  The Church’s sanctuary made for a stuffy setting for the band’s cool harmonies, though the music, in turn, made the room impossibly hotter.  Local Natives took their time to play Philadelphia in the same way their music takes its time to deliver its punch: It’s well worth it in the end.

Hallogallo @ International House 8.8.10

To close out my show-packed week came this most esoteric and captivating performance from the group calling themselves Hallogallo.  Led by guitarist Mike Rother and grounded by drummer Steve Shelley and bassist Aaron Mullan.  Though Shelley is the biggest star today (as drummer of Sonic Youth), the night belonged to the music of Rother, especially from his bands Neu! and Harmonia.  Even if, like me, you are only casually familiar with specific Rother pieces, it wasn’t difficult to become enveloped in the inventive soundscapes created by the three performers.  Most of the night’s selections were based around the iconic “motorik beat,” which not only guides most of Neu!’s songs, but many of Kraftwerk‘s and Can‘s.  Hallogallo was an aural feast and, while it might’ve been even better with some light or film projections, the simplicity of the setup reflected the simplicity of the music.  Neu! was a project that could’ve been made by just about anyone, but the original duo did it unlike anyone else would’ve.

My pictures from these shows are few and of limited clarity, but you can admire all my concert pictures HERE.

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~ by E. on August 10, 2010.

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