Last Night: Dodos and Jennifer Gentle @ hi-dive

Categories: Last Night

Dodos and Jennifer Gentle
September 11, 2007
hi-dive
Better than:
Wearing yet another hole in my Syd Barrett vinyl.

Due to a late cancellation by one of the opening bands, the Jennifer Gentle show started late. As is usually the case when a show starts late, I arrived early which left me with little to do but drink and smoke cigarettes for a couple hours until things got going. This left me a little fuzzy by the time things did start, but luckily the first band, Dodos, blew out the cobwebs within moments of taking the stage with their intense, emotional set.

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With just a drummer and singer/guitarist, Dodos managed to put out enough sound to easily fill the room. The audience seemed won over quickly and cheered them on lustily throughout their set. Singer Meric Long’s lyrics built evocative images that were propelled along on fast tribal beats by the forceful, almost frantic drumming of Logan Kroeber. The results were unusually distinctive, a psychedelic-folk-pop base bolstered by hyperkinetic punk energy, constantly skating on the edge of chaos without ever tipping over.

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Jennifer Gentle set up quickly and launched into its set without much warning, catching the majority of the audience unaware. It didn’t take long for the audience to get the message, though, and the group had everyone’s attention before they reached the bridge of the first song. Singer/guitarist Marco Fasolo seemed to be channeling the ghost of Syd Barrett circa the Pink Floyd single “Apples and Oranges,” delivering his lines in an affected, almost unreal voice that had me checking for a vocal effects processor.

Musically, the group delivered a deft, skillful take on familiar psych-pop tropes: two guitars, bass, drums and some organ and electric piano sounds playing comfortable chord progressions and melodies. The set stuck to the poppier, more accessible side of the band’s recorded work. The sound and style might not have been terribly original, but it’s a genre that hasn’t yet been mined to death and it was done with obvious reverence for its inspirations. And it was quite enjoyable, which beats adventurous but inaccessible most days of the week, and certainly on a Tuesday night.
-- Cory Casciato

Critic’s Notebook
Personal Bias:
Jennifer Gentle draws heavy inspiration from Syd Barrett, an artist I was completely obsessed with for several years.
Random Detail: Some woman mumbled something incomprehensible to me (possibly an apology?) as she pulled a Jennifer Gentle poster off the wall behind me.
By the Way: A two-minute-or-so freak-out breakdown at the end of Jennifer Gentle’s last song hinted at a deeper, possibly more genuinely psychedelic side to the music, and left the audience calling for an encore that never came. Oh well, it gives us an excuse to make it out next time.


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