We all know Spencer Krug as the eccentric vocalist/keyboardist of Montreal’s indie rock outfit Wolf Parade, and a lot of us know him as the crooning frontman of the art rock solo-project-turned-quintet Sunset Rubdown, but how many people know him under his newest solo moniker Moonface? The answer: not many, or at least, not many in Los Angeles.
Silverlake’s The Satellite is generally pretty full when I go there, but when I walked in Wednesday night, the crowd was scarce and strewn across the small venue. I was surprised, thinking more people would be there. But it was clear that this audience was devoted, here to see Krug and only Krug, and as soon as he set foot on stage, it was like an invisible fence engaged on the floor, herding the 30 or so attendees into a small mass right in front of the stage. Standing in the middle of the floor felt like I was at a sold out show, even though ten feet away from me was empty space. The lighting, which typically rotates from red to green to blue hues, shut off completely, and Krug lit two candles on a small table near his organ, to set the mood. Everybody’s eyes locked on the Canadian musician, and he began to play.
Although Krug’s other projects have prog rock tendencies, they have been masked by mainstream indie rock accessibility. As Moonface, the pianist is able to reach deep into his creative brain and extract anything and everything he likes, with no one else to impress but himself. This being said, the result has been two collections of strung out electronic tracks in the form of the 2010 EP, Dreamland EP: Marimba and Shit-Drums, and recently released debut LP, Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped, showcasing just that—marimbas, organs, and a bunch of effect pedals.
For his live performances, the Canada native recruited percussionist Mike Bigelow, and even though the majority of the duo’s music was produced synthetically, there was an ironic organic feeling to its live portrayal. As Bigelow struck the marimba and Krug pounded at his organ, it sounded tribal, primal, giving it a human touch. And even though Krug has played in front of thousands of people in the past, he hid behind his recently grown out locks, eyes closed during each tune, and admitting to the crowd, “I’m nervous,” in between songs.
The set list consisted of a variety from Moonface’s EP and LP, with a new song (perhaps from the album that Krug is currently recording in Finland) that he admittedly ripped off from Real Life’s 1983 hit, “Send Me and Angel,” which also happened to be the track’s title. The electric drones of this track, and all the others, translated beautifully live, making Moonface something better heard in person than on record.
Krug and Bigelow are halfway done with their U.S. tour. Below is a complete list of dates.
10/07/11 Milwaukee, WI- Cactus Club
10/08/11 Madison, WI- Univ. of Wisconsin- The Sett
10/09/11 Minneapolis, MN- 7th St. Entry
10/11/11 Saskatoon, SK- Amigo's
10/12/11 Calgary, AB- Republik
10/14/11 Vancouver, BC- Waldorf
10/15/11 Seattle, WA- The Crocodile
10/16/11 Portland, OR- Doug Fir Lounge
10/18/11 San Francisco, CA- The Independent
10/19/11 Los Angeles, CA- The Satellite
10/20/11 San Diego, CA- Casbah
10/21/11 Tucson, AZ- Club Congress
10/23/11 Denver, CO- Larimer Lounge
10/25/11 St. Louis, MO- The Firebird
10/26/11 Chicago, IL- Lincoln Hall
10/29/11 Washington DC- Rock 'N' Roll Hotel
10/30/11 New York, NY- Bowery Ballroom