In the warm, dark fuggy gloom of the Silverlake Lounge Futurebirds made their Los Angeles debut last night. Hailing from Athens, Georgia, the six piece was probably expecting a wilder crowd from the city of Angels. Their guitarist, a young man with a giant beard, implored the small crowd to get closer, "Y'all don't be scared to come up to the front now." But as is usually the case, it was not the gentle coaxing of the band that got the crowd moving--it was their country fried guitar licks, twinkling banjos, and honeyed four piece harmonies that did it.
With four front men all sharing vocal duties and switching instruments, Futurebirds was clearly more like a democratic collective than a band with a fearless leader. There appears to be no single vision about how they should sound, but instead four different interpretations on the same theme. In fact before each number, the six of them huddled up as if they were a sports team trying to figure out who would play what, the highlight being when drummer Peyton Bradford came out from behind his set and picked up a guitar and sang "Red Top Girl," a tender ballad about a one night stand.
Playing most of their songs of their debut disk, Hampton's Lullaby, each song was treated as a brand new entity. This strategy gives the Futurebirds a cohesion that Monsters of Folk could only dream of and an air of impulsive spontaneity that's really exciting.
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The band that followed, Lord Huron, is probably Los Angeles' most mysterious band. They've only been in existence for a few months, but has already drawing critical buzz from their EP, Into The Sun that was released online in June. Going into the show, there were very few expectations. How can there be when the band has only released a three song EP and the sum total of most people's knowledge is that it's the project of a young man named Benji S. More? That's it.
A little after midnight, five guys took the stage and blasted the Lounge with pretty tropical pop melodies that would make Vampire Weekend weep with envy and Panda Bear do a double take. It was the kind of music you would expect from a beachside resort on a distant planet far far away.
You could almost feel the ocean breezes that poured out of the tropical guitar licks, which were accompanied by harmonized distorted vocals that sounded like they were coming from the bottom of a well, drums that came in like claps of thunder, steady maracas, and accented by odd computer yips and blerps from two laptops.
Sound insane? Perhaps, but it's the kind of laid back madness that I, for one, would like to be a part of.