Though flyers around the building promised that each opener would play for Forty minutes, followed by a break of just Ten minutes between acts, Cloud Nothings’ speedy set made for literally Three times the allotted set up time for BRAIDS. Taking the stage shortly after 10:20, the band opened their set the same way that they open their newest album, “Native Speaker”: With the lush and trippy “Lemonade.” Katie Lee’s keyboard was turned up to max, playfully bouncing and swirling as it created a backdrop for the soaring vocals of lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston, whose heavy use of echo filled every corner of the room. They had the crowd on their side immediately, though their collective attention tending to wain during the band’s extended transitions between songs, in which the group allowed their tunes to each devolve into seemingly random sounds before gelling back together into something glorious. Given the lengthy run-time of each of the group’s tunes, Braids only got through a few numbers before their time was up, but they ended with a bang, Standell-Preston’s vocal performance proving brilliant and moving enough to elicit applause from the crowd in the middle of their last song. The group said their good-byes, and disappeared before the clock struck Eleven.
toro y moi
Moving away from the fuzzy rock and roll of Cloud Nothings and the melodic psychedelica of Braids, Toro y Moi filled the air with a dance-heavy, retro-fitted set that started with “Underneath the Pine” highlight “New Beat.” The crowd was dancing in no time, the song’s rich bass line and disco-infused groove having no problem with making bodies move. Unlike the two previous acts, whose backdrops were made of simple colors, Toro y Moi played in front of what looked like a massive lava-lamp, the projection ever-moving and ever-changing behind them. Though their set was primarily composed of selections from Pine, the few songs that the band played from their debut album, “Causers of This,” were meet by steady applause, the opening notes of “Talamak” prompting the largest pre-song swell of excitement of the night. The band played at a slightly louder volume than one might expect, swapping out some of their easy-going sway for a more rock-concert-friendly sound. At just after midnight, project frontman Chaz Bundick announced that the next tune would be their last before launching into an appropriately epic rendition of “Elise.” It was a perfectly enormous song to end the night with, slow burn leading up to cathartic finish. Their one-song encore paled by comparison, but that’s more a testament to “Elise” than any sort of criticism. In a tone more gracious and thankful that one usually hears from an accomplished musician, Bundick thanked the crowd in as earnest a voice as they come, concluding a terrific night of music at the Doug Fir Lounge.
All three bands will appear together again on Friday, April 1st at the Riot Room in Kansas City, MO. The albums of all three bands are available via itunes, or wherever music is sold.