1. They have great taste in opening acts. Bucks County’s Illinois singing catchy, clever pop songs to the banjo over multiple bottles of Sailor Jerry really puts you in the mood for more music. Either that or a sock-hop. But that’s cool too.
2. Menomena is just as organic and fresh as anything else coming out of Portland. The band is comprised of three really tall musicians who produce the instrumentation of a 10-piece orchestra. It’s impressive to hear so much sound coming from such a small group of people. Like a puzzle, these sounds fit perfectly together, only it’s less like a jigsaw and more like a game of Jenga. The pieces don’t lay flat together, but fit together, building layer after layer so that the noises are intentionally assaulting and explicit. That’s what makes a show like this so damn intense.
3. Their music is completely beat driven. Underneath the whiney indie vocals and experimental composition there’s a hint of drum and bass, too. But there’s no beat machine or drum loop, just a long torso-ed drummer who plays drums the way Donkey Kong would if he had eight arms. It’s fascinating to hear, but even better to watch.
4. The bassist also plays a saxophone, which isn’t really that important, accept that the sax is amazingly incorporated and needs to be used more often.
5. Unfortunately, they choose to play like, the slowest set ever! They’re up there doing amazing instrumentation, showing off super coordination skills, but then they play all their snooziest songs. Hello! Your stuff is great guys, really it is. But even your biggest fans begin to fall asleep after hearing the 5th lullaby in a row. It’s no wonder a fourth of the audience was outside smoking cigarettes in the cold before ya’ll were even done. Next time, work on a better set list.
PHOTO & TEXT BY EVA LIAO