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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Last Night: Atlas Sound, Geographer, Magic Wands, and Nice Nice (Noise Pop)

Posted By on Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:08 PM

click to enlarge Atlas Sound
  • Atlas Sound

Atlas Sound, Geographer, Magic Wands, and Nice Nice (Noise Pop)
Friday, Feb. 26, 2010
Great American Music Hall

Better than: What usually happens when a guy takes the stage alone with only an acoustic guitar and harmonica.

click to enlarge Atlas Sound
  • Atlas Sound

​Bradford Cox, the giant genius who performs solo as Atlas Sound, demonstrated Friday night for an adoring crowd that there is a full band's worth of sound inside the acoustic guitar. He used an armload of pedals and two busy feet to find it. But with only his Gibson, the stomp boxes, a harmonica, and his agile, whiny voice box, Cox filled, fascinated, and at times frustrated a room that seemed a bit skeptical about a too-skinny dude with a Holden Caulfield hat sitting on a stool with no other instrument or person backing him up. 

click to enlarge Magic Wands
  • Magic Wands

​Atlas Sound's freewheeling solo act followed three beat-heavy sets. Portland noise-psych duo Nice Nice opened, followed by shoegaze-pop locals Magic Wands and the dancy, electro-emo of local trio Geographer. That last group managed to get some in the seemingly immovable crowd swaying. 

So when Cox took the stage alone -- he also performs as Atlas Sound with a backing band -- a pang of apprehension issued through Great American. Without accompaniment, how could his swirling, mellow (and at times ponderous) acoustic musings best music with an actual beat?

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Ian S. Port

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