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Last Night: Caribou at the Culture Room

Saturday, April 5th,

Better Than: Making your own Tie-Dye Shirt.

The Review: Pulling into the parking lot of the Culture Room, I felt a little bittersweet seeing all the available spaces. It’s rare when an indie band like Caribou decides to grace S.Florida with their presence, and by the size of the crowd Saturday night it’s easy to see why. Not that it was “dead” by any means, just not quite as packed or enthusiastic like the last few Culture Room shows I’d seen recently. The hundred or so people that did show up were in for quite a treat, even if they did seem a little drowsy.

When Fuck Buttons finally decided to stop railroading our eardrums with tribal noise, things moved pretty quickly. Most of us are used to the stereotypical stage set up, singer dead center, guitar on both sides, and drummer in the back. Which is why it was so puzzling to see two drum sets front and center. Once Caribou started, it was obvious what their game plan was.

While the majority of folks that listen to Caribou records would expect just to see one man standing in front of a mountain of keyboards. Dan Snaith, (singer, drummer, guitar player and mastermind), does things a little differently. Caribou came out drums blaring in total synchronicity, as they prepared to perform all their music organically. With their current drummer out due to a broken wrist, Ahmed Gallab attempted to take on the difficult task of keeping up with Snaith’s sporadic thrashing. In which Ahmed fulfilled without any hesitation or problems. It’s hard to imagine their regular guy could do much better.

Wearing blank t-shirts, the band blended into their backdrop as a literal kaleidoscope of shapes and colors filled the room. It fit well with Caribou’s obvious psychedelic-rock influence. While, the vocals were a little difficult to hear thanks to the Culture Room’s vacant garage acoustics, the strange mix of sunshine pop and frequent double pounding beats came in like Spector’s Wall of Sound re-imagined. It was clear that this wasn’t your dad’s Psychedelica.

Snaith spent most of the night extremely quiet, only saying the usual “thank you”, after every few songs. Despite the shy attitude Dan and his band, ripped through great tracks like “Sandy”, “Melody Day”, and She’s The One” from their critically acclaimed album, Andorra. Switching instruments frantically, often multiple times per song, Dan looked capable of a one man show, even busting out a recorder a couple of times.

The newer songs may have gone over well, but the crowd seemed much more excited when they played older material. Caribou appeased the fans by closing the first set with a blazing version of “A Final Warning” which was easily their strongest song of the night. A few people even started dancing. This new found energy in the crowd lasted for a few more songs during the bands short encore, maybe Caribou should have started with this one instead?

Snaith and company seemed content after the show. While they packed up quietly I thanked all of them for traveling far away from their native land of Canada to visit the sunny south. Dan politely grinned. It might not have meant much, but S.Florida could definitely use a few more diverse and interesting acts like Caribou. Every little bit helps.

Critics Notebook:

Personal Bias: I kind of have a thing for 60s pysch-rock, and so does Dan. When I asked him about his influences, “I love the Zombies” seemed to be the appropriate response.

Random Detail: Seems the recorder isn’t a useless instrument like originally perceived. I should have paid better attention in 5th grade music class.

By The Way: The replacement drummer, Ahmed Gallab, has his own one man project called Sinkane. Just like Dan, Ahmed is soft spoken and plays multiple instruments. Certainly an act to watch.

-Mike Sauer

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