DMST in Philly
- This past Friday I got the chance to see Do Make Say Think at the
First Unitarian Church in Philly, and it was one helluva show -
possibly one of the best concerts I've ever seen.
First off, the venue is bizarre: It's quite literally in a rather
large Unitarian Church, with the "stage" being where the altar is. I
think it's an active church that figured they could generate some
extra money by turning it into a concert venue. I wonder if they have
specifics as to what type of bands can play there (and for some
reason, I think that a band like Magma would be freaking phenomenal to
see in a church)
Anyway, the opening act was Lullabye Arkestra, which was essentially a
drummer and a bassist, with five horn players. The drummer, who
unbeknownest to me (at the time) was also one of DMST's guitarists,
introduced the horn players (three of whom were also members of DMST)
as the "Horns of a Rabbit," eliciting a slight chuckle from the
members of the crowd familiar with the headliner's discography.
They played a pretty decent set, and threw in a Parliament cover for
good measure. After a brief break, the rather lame and boring Elliot
Brood came on. They were billed as "death country" but they seemed
more of a slightly bluegrass indie act with annoying vocals. Other
members of the crowd agreed with me, and I was glad when they were done.
The show was sold out, so when the Do Makes walked on stage, bassist
Charles Spearin addressed the crowd by saying "Wow, look at all you
guys." He went on to say that they usually play downstairs where it is
much smaller, and thought it was pretty cool that they had such a good
(about 300 or so) turnout. He then introduced the band as Lullabye
Arkestra, but they would be doing a bunch of Do Make Say Think covers.
You gotta love dry Canadian humor.
There were eight people on stage, but they also brought out a guest
marimba player for a few songs. She was kinda buried in the mix and a
little tough to hear though, which was a bummer, especially since I
think she was only with the band for the Philly show. Other than that,
they had two drummers (one of who was a fill-in due to the regular
drummer being sick/injured), two guitars, bass, sax, trumpet and
violin. Here's where it gets interesting: The bassist also played
trumpet, keys and guitar, the one guitarist played some bass and sax,
the other guitarist played bass and keys, the violinist played some
trumpet, and the sax player had a nice, old analog keyboard in front
of him. I imagine that Gentle Giant in their heyday were somewhat
similar to watch.
They procededed to start their set in an odd manner: "Outer Inner &
Secret" from Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn, which features a
quiet, extended intro before building into a wonderful, swelling
crescendo. After about fifteen minutes, they went right into another
track from the same album (Auberge le Mouton Noir) and then I believe
they played "Reitschule" from &Yet & Yet. Some tracks from their new
album followed, which I've only had for a couple of weeks, but has
been growing on me with each listen. Unfortunately, I'm not overly
familiar with the titles, but I believe they played "Bound to Be That
Way" and "Herstory of Glory." All in all, they played four or five
tracks from the new album, about half of Winter Hymn, and one track
each from their second and third albums.
They played for a little over an hour before walking off to some
enthusiastic applause. They came back on and played about a 20 minute
encore consisting of three songs (as well as a really short fourth
song with some vocals that I did not recognize) and the crowd stood
throughout the whole thing, and then walked off stage to more applause.
Some other random notes:
The vocals tracks translated really well live. Prior to the concert, I
was a bit iffy on the tracks from the new album that featured guest
vocals, but they pulled them off really well live, with a four or five
of the members all harmonizing and thus giving me a new appreciation
of those songs
The crowd was, I suppose, your typical indie type crowd - I noticed a
lot of cool people who were trying to look nerdy, and a lot of nerdy
people who were trying to look hip. I, of course, was somewhere in the
middle - providing that much sought after balance of nerdy studliness.
A fair amount of womenfolk were there - there were even a bunch who
were there by their own will (and not attending to hang with their
The sound wasn't the greatest - the mix could've been done a little
better, and the cathedral-styled church wasn't the most friendly
building in terms of acoustics, but the volume level was extremely
pleasant - earplugs were not needed, and it was a welcome change to
walk out of the venue and not experience any threshold shift.
With all of the gripes of the music industry crying poor, I have to
wonder if we are seeing a bit of an indie revolution going on in
music. Explosions in the Sky are selling out shows left and right and
cracked the Billboard Top 100 (I was unable to see them a few weeks
back), Isis packed in the TLA, and the Do Makes just sold out a pretty
good sized venue. It's refreshing to see that people are staying away
from mass-produced crappy stuff and seeking out the better quality
independent stuff. I'm assuming that a well-managed band can do okay
for themselves by touring and playing 300 seat venues, and not need to
do arena shows or sell millions of CDs [/soapbox].
So to make a short story long, I was treated to an excellent show this
past Friday, and have been listening to a whole lot of DMST the past
few days with an even greater appreciation than I had prior(there are
around six of their concerts over at Live Archive, including a recent
one with an almost identical setlist to their Philly show). Check 'em
out if you can. It was an amazing bargain at $12/ ticket
- --- In ProgAndOther@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Oaster" <jeffoaster@...>
>I saw them last night at the Black Cat in DC, and if this show isn't
> This past Friday I got the chance to see Do Make Say Think at the
> First Unitarian Church in Philly, and it was one helluva show -
> possibly one of the best concerts I've ever seen.
in my top 10 of shows for the year, it will have been a stupendous
I think DMST are the most interesting current post-rock band, and the
only one who doesn't seem to be rehashing the same formula over and
over again (don't get me wrong, I tend to like that formula, but you
know...). I too was struck by the diversity of instrumentation, and
their compositions really take advantage of that diversity.
The sound at the DC show was definitely at earplugs-needed levels (I
put mine in after the first song), but their soundman was fabulous
and even at the high volume levels, little things really came through
in the mix - especially the violinist. It seemed like a lot of the
band's modus operandi was to develop a repetitive, trancey beat with
subtle ornamentation from the guitars, and then a beautiful melody
would surface out of the murk, on violin or horns or gently picked
guitar. Really gorgeous stuff.
I only have the band's three latest albums, but like them all and
have to say that the material translated extraordinarily well into
the live setting.
> The crowd was, I suppose, your typical indie type crowd - I noticedLOL!
> a lot of cool people who were trying to look nerdy, and a lot of
> nerdy people who were trying to look hip. I, of course, was
> somewhere in the middle - providing that much sought after balance
> of nerdy studliness.
- --- In ProgAndOther@yahoogroups.com, "Brandon Wu" <yahooooo@...> wrote:
>I agree with those sentiments whole-heartedly (and was a bit
> --- In ProgAndOther@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Oaster" <jeffoaster@>
> I think DMST are the most interesting current post-rock band, and the
> only one who doesn't seem to be rehashing the same formula over and
> over again (don't get me wrong, I tend to like that formula, but you
> know...). I too was struck by the diversity of instrumentation, and
> their compositions really take advantage of that diversity.
disappointed with the latest Explosions album because they are very
formulaic). DMST's tendency to mix things up a bit really makes them
stand out. For instance, their latest albums throws vocals and some
phenomenal acoustic guitar into the mix. It was great to see them
playing for a packed house of appreciative fans.
I also forgot to mention one of the coolest moments at their Philly
show: At one point towards the end of one of their tunes, the
violinist grabbed a trumpet to accompany the bassist (well, the
primary bassist, he might have been playing guitar prior to playing a
trumpet) and the regular trumpet player to make a brass trio.