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Monday, October 18, 2010

Saturday Night: Howabout Those Morning Benders?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 6:30 AM

The Morning Benders 
October 16, 2010 
@ The Fillmore

I went into this concert expecting some typical indie rock, and came out rather impressed by a distinct mixture of The Dirty Projectors and Grizzly Bear. The guitar interplay of The Morning Benders may seem plain at first, but subtle listening introduces some pretty interesting progressions, song structures, and integration of outside influences such as freak-folk and doo-wop (see the closing song, which felt like a barber shop quartet pulling up to a '50s diner with surf music blasting out of the car). The Benders' latest album, Big Echo was produced by Chris Taylor, the bassist of Grizzly Bear, and has the lush organic qualities to show for it. Saturday's first-ever headlining show at the Fillmore proved that the band deserves way more fans than the hipsterish crowd it attracted.

Biggest crowd response: "How about those Giants?"

Most common audience members: Students from San Francisco State University. It looks like starving college students are the number one group of people who couldn't afford Treasure Island. Also, I've never seen so many plaid and polo shirts in one building before.

Best joke of the night: Q: How many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A: Some obscure number you probably never heard of.

The artist-audience relationship: "I see some of you mouthing the words, but you should sing because it's not good to bottle up that energy." At first this demand by lead vocalist Chris Chu seemed to be in vain, but by the end of the night, as the band's energy level increased, so did that of the crowd. The love you take is equal to the love you make. Thank god that it did eventually get to the point where the everyone was stomping and dancing -- initially, when the first song began, seeing everyone in the crowd clapping in rhythm while barely moving any other part of their body was rather strange.

Opinion on encores: According to the drummer, The Morning Benders don't like them usually, but if the crowd asks for one, they deliver.

Awesome cover of the night: Fleetwood Mac -- "Dreams"

Random overheard fact of the night: Because there's always more to learn about the city, who knew that moped gangs existed in San Francisco? Morning Benders fans did, apparently. Do they wear jean jackets instead of leather jackets? What do they listen to? Biker gangs have claimed Motorhead because of its appropriate bad-ass-ery, so have moped gangs claimed Weezer because of its appropriate dorkiness?

Openers Twin Sister: Something special happens in the mind of every music writer when they hear an opening band that's actually difficult to describe. We take it as a challenge, and an indicator that the band in question is a group of musicians you should definitely look out for. Usually we can list the most obvious touchstones pretty easily (In this case, Sonic Youth, Cocteau Twins, Beach House, The Cure), but the ways in which Twin Sister combines them are harder to describe. The band crafts relatively normal sweet, sugar-coated dream-pop songs, but spices them up with gloriously off-kilter jam sessions and sinister-sounding electronics and slide guitars to create a mild, David Lynchian dissonance. The strangeness is magnified by an adorable female vocalist who dresses and acts like a 15-year-old schoolgirl, with huge, frazzled hair, a ribbon in her head, fingers in her mouth, and a rather dorky sweater and jeans.

Morning Benders' Setlist: (Written on a paper plate):
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Aron Fischer


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