December 9, 2010
@ Rickshaw Stop
Better than: Cranking up your space heater on a cold winter night.
In just under two years, the nascent musical sub-genre known as chillwave has gone from buzzed about, to backlashed against, to its current status, something of a critical/commercial purgatory. Known for it's mid-tempo mix of sampled drums, warm synths, and angsty, processed vocals, more and more artists in the sub-genre are taking their act on the road.
Hailing from opposite ends of the continent, Florida's Millionyoung and Vancouver's Teen Daze both popped up on the scene this year as part of chillwave's second generation of artists. Now, on tour together, these two -- whether they know it or not -- are a good benchmark to see if chillwave can transition from a fleeting internet buzz moment to something with legs. And on this quiet December night at the Rickshaw Stop, they proved chillwave still has something to offer.
After a half-hour pause for setup and such, Millionyoung took to the stage, playing through an effects-drenched opening track on his own, before a three piece backing band joined him on stage. Even with a drummer, bassist and guitarist, Millionyoung was a one man wrecking crew, not only holding down the keyboard, vocals and effects, but also finding time to bang out a few guitar solos.
That's not to say they weren't into it, however. By the time Millionyoung's brisk 40-minute set came to a close, he was summoned back out for an encore performance, where he was joined on stage by Teen Daze, and they closed out the night in collaborative bliss.
Under the covers: Both Teen Daze and Millionyoung launched into covers/edits during their set that caught me a bit off-guard. Teen Daze had a thumping edit of Earth, Wind and Fire's "Let's Groove," while Millionyoung sneakily slipped into a cover of the Gorillaz' "Clint Eastwood."
Echoes, echoes, echoes: It's no secret that heavily processed vocals are a staple of chillwave. And because of that, there were multiple moments throughout the night where both artists would attempt to speak to the crowd, only to be rendered indecipherable by layers of reverb and fuzz. Jokes from the crowd followed.