Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bottle Up the Gentleman

This year there were basically three bands that I needed to witness in person before I could die happy. 1) Grizzly Bear. Check. 2) Sunset Rubdown. Check. And just maybe the most anticipated of all... 3) Final Fantasy. And I can now say, been there, experienced that.

In not one, but two shows in one day, I saw what was hands down the best one-man-band performance I have ever seen. Owen Pallett, aka Final Fantasy, was trained classically on the violin and pairs this with incredibly rich lyrics and a voice he treats as a second instrument.

I snuck out of the office early (don't tell the boss) to catch Final Fantasy giving a small intimate performance at Wordsmith Books in Decatur on Tuesday afternoon.

Pallett uses a sampler controlled by foot pedals to loop back in previously created sounds. Each song begins simply with violin and voice, but slowly builds as Pallett loops and layers the music. By the end of the song it's an incredibly complex harmony that sounds like it comes from an orchestra and not one man.

I've managed to convert Beth into a blushing fan.

Later was Drunken Unicorn, where Final Fantasy performed for the second time with opening acts by two fellow Canadian bands.

Nifty opened. I had never heard of him and his music seemed to spontaneously erupt from the twiddling of dials on stage and built into some really good beats. I have had trouble learning much more about him since googling the word"nifty" is fairly pointless. But once upon a time he was in the now defunct band Les Mouches with Pallett.

Cadence Weapon played second. These guys were hilarious characters and even funnier was that they managed to get a crowd of dorky introverted white kids to pump their fists in the air. I don't know. I opted out.

Final Fantasy gave a second, and more intense performance, playing a different set of songs from previously in the day.

Pallett takes his shoes off when he plays.

Guess it's easier to hit all those pedals bootless.

And he keeps a very captive audience. I don't think anyone moved or dared to breath through most of it. One guy (in yellow) was so transfixed he mouthed every word to every single song. Which is quite a feat considering the lyrics are not particularly easy to follow.

Beth said I was not allowed to post this picture:

We were, what's that saying? "Three sheets to the wind" ? We spent a good deal of time at the bar trying to get a hold of the band to inquire further about the meaning of some of the lyrics. Beth found the music technician guy and referred to Pallett as "whose-his-head" when asking his whereabouts. Despite this she was eventually victorious and got a few questions answered by the friendly Owen Pallett.
Here's an interview with Pallett discussing his choice in kitschy band name:

So I know I said I "could die happy" now that I have seen the Fantasy in person, but I don't know, I think I may need to stick around to see it one or two more times...


Lillian said...

Hee hee. I left work early to catch the in-store at Wordsmiths Books, too! I almost died* when Owen played "Cliquot" -- that song...oh, it's just too much. I love it too much! I normally don't go out to nighttime shows, but after the afternoon appetizer, I felt inspired. And I'm glad we went. FF was awesome. (Cadence Weapon was great, too, but we missed Nifty. I'll have to check them out next time.)

* okay, not really even close, but my hands did get really clammy and I think I held my breath during the entire set.

Jonathan said...

Ha ha - I know, It's embarressing to admit how long "Cliquot" has spent on repeat in my car, studio, kitchen, bathroom, and Ipod.

That show served as a sort of confirmation for me as I realized I am not the only one with a quickened pulse at the sound of that violin.
I noticed a lot of people from earlier in the day came back for seconds. It was so worth it.

Lillian said...

Have you seen/heard this version with Ed from Grizzly Bear singing Owen's part? It seriously is the best thing ever. It's so beautiful, it makes me ache all over.

Just in case that link above doesn't work...

Jonathan said...

Holy Shit! You just made my day! That rules. Worlds colliding - ears tingling - can barely handle it. How does one go about signing up to be their roadie?
Have to say I could have done without the spinning cameraman though.

Lillian said...

Yeah, the swirling fits that part of the song, but it makes me queasy so I just have the video playing in the background on the computer while "working." I alternate between that version and the Owen solo version found here. I love this song way too much. Sigh.

If you're interested, there's more live action FF and GB to love...
Final Fantasy
Grizzly Bear

And the version of "Nantes" in the link below is the bestest...


Jonathan said...

Cool - Hadn't seen FF on Blogotheque yet. The two of GBear are really incredible. Sounds like we have similar haunts for passing the time while "working".
I think we need to be