Fun band three
Eclectic trio of locals at Fulcrum
Chico’s Birds of Fire is a great band to see live, but describing its sound is tricky. I admit, I’m somewhat out of my element when it comes to pointing out the band’s influences—there are (I think) nods to the indie-ish jazz of Karate and moody soundtrack noises of Tortoise and the like—so I will be marching out the adjectives.
Drummer Aaron Markus was stationed front-and-center at the recent Fulcrum show (as is the norm), and this focal point is where everything B.O.F. begins. With lanky guitarist Matt Daugherty’s spaced-out effects and bassist Zach Ahern’s booming lines consuming all the oxygen in the room, the trio worked in and out of layers of dynamics directed by the playful/forceful/complicated drumming of Markus. My favorite was the evening’s closer, “Whale,” which blasted in with all hands at full volume and drifted into the Birds’ familiar painterly swaths of moody spacinesss before completing its orbit with a return to the noise in a crescendo of smashy splashing, punctuated by Markus tossing his sticks in the air, leaving his mates to fade-out the beautiful mess.
Oh, and there were two openers as well. Chico’s Cair Paravel (the name of one of the castles in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) played its first show with a revamped line-up, inspiring a young women up front to say, “They sound like Coldplay.” Maybe the rhythm section moves in similar slacker-happy fashion at times, but with lead-singer John Wesley’s poppy organ out front and the infectious energy of the rest of the crew, Cair Paravel is a rockin’ burst of fun that stomps Coldplay into the dust.
Local La Dolce Vida played a fairly straight-ahead brand of groove-fueled college rock and was at its best on the more up-tempo tunes (especially a rockin’ cover of the Clash’s "Clash City Rockers"). The group was especially moving on the dynamic closer, "Station to Station," with its extended, noisy crescendo.