Photo by MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ
I found Micachu and the Shapes’ arrival fitting for the seasonal transition out of annoyingly happy summer music festival season. I wanted so badly for them to drag all of us at Boot and Saddle last night by the hair into an atypically breezy autumn night and to rock us into early onset seasonal depression. I waited with the crowd on our collective tippy toes, our ears ready to be embraced by the bittersweet sound of Mica Levi [PICTURED, ABOVE] shredding on some old guitar— it would possibly be something handmade. We knew she would strike all of the right chords that were seemingly effortless but inevitably unique and wonderful. And there was a bottle of 50+ SPF sunscreen thrown into the pile of drumsticks. Cool! I thought it was most likely going to be used as an instrument, since using ordinary objects as musical instruments is definitely their thing. I just knew to expect the unexpected.
I waited for about 40 minutes before Micachu and the Shapes appeared onstage, and that was after enduring the worst Smiths-wannabe opening act, who shall remain nameless, featuring a singer who awkwardly made out with the microphone for six more songs than I would have liked to see. Fortunately, they pretty much fell apart halfway through their set, feedback screeching into everyone’s ears as though it was all part of Micachu’s plan to give us something to be miserable about. When they finally took the empty stage, Micachu and the Shapes quickly set up their gear and steadily kicked off the set with a slow-paced song featuring Levi’s electric guitar, some bubbly keyboard sounds and a stripped-down percussive backing. Levi’s vocals sounded more cigarette-smoked than ever, but it was all good because the mood was right to offend any classically trained ears.
It wasn’t until about halfway through the show, when Micachu and the Shapes played the most riled-up song from their new album Good Sad Happy Bad, “Thinking It,” that the band finally pulled our guts out through our mouths and stomped all over them on the stage. Yeah! This was the super-punky, out-of-control sound I came for. The set pulled mostly from Good Sad Happy Bad, “Low Dogg” from what I think is probably their greatest album, Never, as well as a handful of songs that haven’t been released yet. But it didn’t last long, the whole set was short-lived, we were on our way out by 10:30 p.m., and the bottle of sunscreen remained on the stage long after the set was through. Side note: I found out later by chatting with the drummer Marc Pell that the sunscreen was bought in Las Vegas on tour with Animal Collective. Hot dog*. I really wanted to be more blown-away by it all. But by the end of the night I felt more burnt and deflated than before. — MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ
*Know that the author is the world’s most rabid Animal Collective fan