Released this fall on Thrill Jockey, Barn Owl’s album Ancestral Star is a strong collection of instrumental rock — well, it’s instrumental if you don’t count the wordless vocals that blend in with the guitars on some tracks. The San Francisco duo played Sunday night (Nov. 21) at the Hideout in Chicago, making an awesome roar that was a few notches louder than most Hideout shows. One difference between Barn Owl as a studio band and a live act: The record is notable for how short the tracks are, despite their often epic qualities, but in concert Barn Owl played the full set with barely a pause — making its music sound more like one long piece. And while the album features occasional touches of instruments other than guitars, Sunday night was all about the guitars, with Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras playing off each other’s progressions to create a dark, brooding symphony of noise.
PHOTOS OF BARN OWL
The opening acts — three of them! — were well matched with Barn Owl. David Daniell and High Aura’d played similar instrumental guitar music, while Scott Tuma and his band (including Emmett Kelly and Jim White) stretched out Americana folk rock into lingering, atmospheric jams.