Last night, Brooklyn rockers Beach Fossils opened the show at the Troubadour with all of the thrill and heart-racing excitement of a metronome. Seriously, I've heard more exciting grandfather clocks.
The set started out with them as a trio with all the basic elements covered: bass, guitar and drums, which all of them played with great energy. It was actually kind of mesmerizing to watch three young men bounce around the stage like grasshoppers and make such rhythmically pretty, but ultimately uninteresting pop, like a movie whose sound hadn't caught up with the images yet.
An additional guitarist joined them after the third song and my hopes rose. Maybe this was the ace! Maybe this guy had some amazing guitar solos up his sleeve and the other guys brought him out as a secret weapon! But no, just like the other he began jumping up and down and dancing with wild abandon while strumming uninspired licks on his instrument.
But these guys are young. None of them looked much older than twenty two. Perhaps this is the starter band that is needed before they all break into solo projects that will blow our minds. It could happen. In the mean time, if you're throwing a party and want some music that everyone can ignore and talk over, pick up the Beach Fossils.
After a brief intermission, a giddy Here We Go Magic took the stage. "This is our first headlining show in Los Angeles," drummer Peter Hale announced gleefully. "We're so stoked!" Looking swarthy in a button-down shirt, lead singer Luke Temple glanced seriously at the crowd before launching into a vibrantly complex set.
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Here We Go Magic's songs are easily identifiable because they usually feature between two and four vocalists, each appearing to be singing a different song. What could be a complete train wreck becomes a beautiful harmony, each voice complimenting the others like stripes layered on top of one another to build a plaid pattern. The effect reminds one of a dream in which people are talking to you but you can't understand a word that they're saying. The harder you try and distinguish the words the vaguer they become until you eventually give up and just go with the flow.
Luke Temple may be the face of Here We Go Magic, but bass player Jennifer Turner stole the show. Dressed up in a little black dress, it appeared that Turner felt every pulsation that went through that red bass guitar of hers to the very core. I've never seen a bassist rock so hard. Usually they just stand in a corner and strum, but Turner bent her knees and grooved to every single note. It was clear that she wanted the audience to feel every beat of the band's heart as strongly as she did.
The set ended with their two singles from their self-titled debut album, "Fangela" and "Tunnelvision," which were performed in all their psychedelic glory in a shower of flashing lights. It became apparent that none of the songs on their latest effort Pigeons--though pleasant--came close to the magic of those two songs.
Perhaps these guys should take a year or two off after touring before writing their third album. Two albums in two years that sound very similar may be indicators that they're burning out, which would be a real shame because they sound like no one else. One can only hope that they'll be allowed the time to re-imagine their sound for their third disk.