Maps & Atlases
By now we already know to expect a great show whenever Maps & Atlases is playing. Last time I caught them at Bowery Ballroom, it was a sold out show filled with adoring fans. If they could pull off amazingly good vibes like that at that venue, then a show at the most good vibin’ venue in Brooklyn – Glasslands – would logically have to be nothing but good vibe city.
Turns out, the Glasslands show was more of a good vibe variation. This time, Maps & Atlases felt more mellow; but really, to say that as a comparison is still like saying they really jammed out and put on a good show. The crowd visibly felt it, just wasn’t going too crazy. This probably had a bit to do with the more mature nature of M&A’s latest album, Beware and Be Grateful. It sounds like the band has just lived a little bit more, and changed their perspective accordingly, not to mention gotten even more proficient in how well they keep time and hold all their finger tapping and pulsing polyrhythms together. Older favorites weren’t abandoned, however. Songs like “Pigeons” became singalongs, the ambiance of appreciation was a tangible feeling.
This show was also another confirmation of how Maps & Atlases have great taste in the supporting bands they bring on tour with them. Sister Crayon, who I recently caught at Pianos opened, and then there was El Paso psych funk band Zechs Marquise. The core of this band is a trio of brothers; Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez, and Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez, who also happen to have another brother by the name of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, who you may have heard of in relation to The Mars Volta. Drummer Marcel wasn’t at this show, but the drummer that played with them held it down with percussive stealth, not to mention his beard almost passing for a 6th member of the band.
Marcos Smith of Zechs Marquise
Regardless of the band’s hairy prowess and higher profile relations, they really brought out some jams, and they brought it hard. They describe their sound as being funk from the future, and if the future of funk is a much heavier, blown out, almost hardcore funk, then that description is pretty accurate. Also, the fact that they’re on Sargent House with the likes of Teros Melos and Chelsea Wolfe makes total sense. Minutes after their set, tweets started popping up in the feed about the band’s impressive set. I think Zechs blew some people’s minds that night.
Zechs Marquise has just announced summer tour dates with And So I Watch You From Afar, so kids across the nation will be able to have their ears blown proper. Maps & Atlases also still have a pretty good run of a tour to go, playing dates all up and around the US through July. View all dates here and keep up with all the places they go on their Instagram tour diary. I also want to give a shout out to Sister Crayon, who’s opening set I missed, but they will be on tour with Maps & Atlases until the beginning of June, after which they play some homecoming shows in California before heading back out on tour with Built to Spill. Definitely get out to see this band if you can.
Photos (c) Kelly Knapp