Live Review: Other Lives with Indians at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington DC – 30th November 2012

By on Monday, 10th December 2012 at 2:00 pm

Friends of mine from Germany had been talking about the band Other Lives over the summer, and I was just curious enough to check them out. Turns out they sounded pretty good, like minimalism meets orchestral, something that I could get into. So when they popped up as a gig to cover, I hopped on it.

The evening opened up with Indians: plural word, singular man signed to 4AD this year. Copenhagen’s Søren Løkke Juul is an example of something I am seeing more of, a band that is just one person playing a synthesizer. I will say that he completely saved himself in that he could actually play piano. He was *not* just ‘playing a box’. To increase my admiration, he also pulled out an acoustic guitar and played that as well. With his debut not being released until next month, this 10-month old ‘band’ showed promise and versatility.

It turns out I was so lucky I listened to my friend’s advice. It may not be my favorite concert of the year, as my pal exclaimed, but it was a great gig and a surprise from such an under the radar band. First off, it was a small club with sometimes dodgy sound and this band of five actively uses more instruments than I have even seen on stage, so both space and sound quality were of utmost importance. So this is what was on stage and used: two violins, cello, trumpet, a large and small xylophone, guitar, bass, two sets of double keyboards, harmonica, acoustic guitar, castanets, harmonium, synthesizer, timpani, lap steel, and a set of ANTLERS WITH BELLS!

It also may have been the most beautiful I have seen this dark boxy venue ever look. Not only was the stage filled with instruments, but oversized, clear, incandescent light bulbs were stationed throughout. It gave a beautiful light to the stage and when coupled with the fog, made the stage absolutely glow. In a funny aside, about a third of the way through the gig, lead singer Jesse Tabish asked to have the fog turned off because he couldn’t see anything, and I concurred – I literally could not see Colby Owens, the drummer or Jenny Hsu, the cellist. Jon Mooney and Josh Onstott round out the band playing many of the remaining instruments.

Often I am distracted by the drumming, which I love. The appealing thing about this band is that there was always so much going on, so much layering that I never had time to get wrapped up in the drummer. This said to me that each of the musicians on stage could hold their own and made for a very balanced band. Both ambient and punchy in its own turn, their tunes swelled and roared through the crowd.

As the band built to a full-on intense noise climax in ‘Weather’ there were people rocking out all around me. The encore returned Tabish to the stage alone where he highlighted the fact that this band started out as an instrumental endeavor, playing solo on a piano piece that confirmed that he was indeed a piano player and not just someone who plays keyboards. They closed out the night with ‘Black Tables’ and melted into that good night. The sold out crowd then shook themselves from their reverie and headed out heady from the experience.

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One Response

1:59 am
11th December 2012

RT @tgtf: New post: Live Review: Other Lives with Indians at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington DC – 30th November 2012:

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