I wasn't expecting much of a crowd for Caribou this Sunday night, taking into consideration a late set time and the fact that Rocktober's most viciously scheduled week of shows is making everyone succumb to total auditory overload. I apparently underestimated not only the popularity of Caribou, but also the perseverance of Tampa's indie music fans; Crowbar was packed solid.
Caribous unique indie-tronica is the work of Dan Snaith, who has a remarkable ability to recreate various styles. From the sun-drenched nostalgia of his Polaris Prize winning Andorra, to the hypnotic dance of this years Swim, his consistency lies in richly textured layers of guitar and synth mixed perfectly with pounding drums and impeccable editing.
I did opt to skip the opener, Arp, based off the trippy droning electronica I'd heard on their myspace page. Honestly, I was just bummed that Toro Y Moi wasn't opening this leg of the tour, as I've been dying to see Chaz Bundick's beautifully produced chillwave in a live setting.
"Kaili" proved an excellent opening song, its wandering melody and ethereal vocals warming up the crowd for the full-on dance beats of "Leave House. The dancing continued the rest of the evening, with a set heavy with songs from Swim.
It becomes evident pretty quickly that Caribou's live show is completely different from listening to his studio recordings. The songs take on new depth, fueled by quickened tempo, pounding percussion, and Snaith's musical experimentation as he switched between synth, drums, tambourine, and a recorder. Nearly every song had an extended jam-like quality; Snaiths talented touring band staying completely on top of his rapid changes. I was especially impressed by drummer Brad Weber, whose intensity matched Snaith beat for beat.
Throughout the show a hypnotizing mix of visuals and sound assaulted the crowd; kaleidoscopic colors and flashing strobe lights hitting powerfully as each song hit its peak. I felt this was most effective during the luscious 60's psychedelia-laden "Melody Day." During the song Snaith alternated between the organ-like synth and guitar, (at moments playing both at the same time) while John Schmersal provided the intricate bass line.
Caribou ended the show with a trio of hits, "Jamelia" rousing the crowd for a joyous closing rendition of "Odessa" which had everyone singing along. When the band briefly walked offstage, there was an immediate explosion of calls for an encore. They came quickly back onstage to close out with a extended strobe-laden jam of "Sun."
While I was disappointed not to hear anything off Milk of Human Kindness, especially the trip-hoppy "Pelican Narrows," I cant think of a better show to end a phenomenal week of concerts.
Kick yourself if you missed this one.