A couple of months ago, I was excited to hear that the Ruby Suns and Throw Me the Statue were playing on the same night at Schubas – and they weren’t even the headliners. They were two of the three bands on a bill headlined by Le Loup. And then Schubas expanded the lineup even more, adding a fourth band, Bodies of Water, and putting them at the top of the bill. It almost seemed like a mini-festival when the show finally came on Friday (March 28).
I had seen Throw Me the Statue and the Ruby Suns recently at SXSW, but was glad to see both bands again. If I’m not mistaken, Throw Me the Statue played several songs different from the ones I saw them play in Austin, with a little more emphasis on the quieter tunes featuring keyboards, Melodica and xylophone prominently. As I mentioned before on my blog, the Ruby Suns set I saw in Austin was marred by extraneous noise and time delays, so it was great to actually hear a real set by them at Schubas. Ryan McPhun and his two bandmates are really too small of a crew to pull off the layered arrangements on their new album Sea Lion. This band could really include some five or six musicians doing all of the various parts, but instead the Ruby Suns use looping pedals to create a fun but occasionally ramshackle pop music with Beach Boys harmonies, some lovely flute solos and even singing in the Maori language. I like the way McPhun drums standing up at the front of the stage, injecting the drumming parts in some portions of the songs and then switching to guitar. For a guy who grew up in California before moving to New Zealand, he certainly seems to have picked up a Kiwi accent.
I was less familiar with Le Loup and Bodies of Water, but I listened to the most recent records by both bands before seeing Friday’s show and liked what I heard. With seven members, Le Loup plays music that is surprisingly lean and stripped down in some ways, but with lots of percussion in the big climax. Bodies of Water is a simpler four-person band, but that’s not to say their music is simple. At many points, all four members (two men and two women) were singing together, and the harmonies were out-of-the-ordinary and compelling. As with some of the bands I saw recently at SXSW (including Megafaun and Noah and the Whale), Bodies of Water shows influences from folk music that go beyond the typical Bob Dylan influence to older sources.
My trusty old camera was stolen last week (while sitting in the trunk of my car during the Boredoms concert, which I was unable to bring it into), so at the moment, I’m without a camera of my own. However, my friend and fellow photographer Kirstie, aka Kirstiecat, loaned me her camera for a while. Thanks to Kirstie for that generous favor. I was a little out of sorts when it came to photographing, however, so I can’t say I’m all that pleased with my shots from this show or the one on Saturday at the Hideout, but here you go anyway… Photos of Le Loup and Bodies of Water.