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New York Cool - Music

The Dodos
Bowery Ballroom
October 14, 2009

Written by Matt Boyd






The openers for the Dodos show was New Zealand’s Ruby Suns, a band of folks who apparently don’t take any affront to the proximity of the words “ambient” and “calypso” describing a single subject in the same sentence. Interesting, while they explored synthesizer textures and sampled atmospherics, they flirted garishly with an offensive interpretation of island music that frequently interrupted their enjoyability.

The headliners of the show, San Francisco’s The Dodos, are the best band today trading in over-punctuated preppy crooner twee. Period. Sorry White Rabbits- I know Brooklynvegan is tweaking for your D, but it’s true. Lead guitarist and vox-boy Meric Long is a mean strummer, no joke, who tops the ability, unexpected in anyone, to actually shred an acoustic ax with the added value of his golden pipes. I’m a fair reviewer, and as such kudos must be given where kudos are due.

The Dodos lit on the Bowery Ballroom stage following their kiwi tour mates to the most packed house I think I’ve ever seen at the eponymous Bowery Presents venue. Proving themselves the opposite of their namesake, the Dodos defied all associations with flightlessness and extinction by soaring through a flawless and energetic set.

I saw clean cut ladies and gents actually approximating a slow headbang in time with the non-rock drum beats and the call-and-response croons. I admit that I, on the other hand, would have leapt for joy if they could have played just one measure without hitting every tom, or if one of those beats of which there were so many could have swaggered in that pocket just outside the time signature that gives rock music its soul. The drums clicked on-track as though an excited programmer had taken the care to fix a tom to, if not every, then every other step on his 808’s sequencer and then just let it run.

But what do I know? I think I know what the title of their current record, Time to Die, is referring to. Rock is dead. The Dodos and their ilk are not.



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