Friday, September 23, 2011

Photos/Review: The Olivia Tremor Control @ Le Poisson Rouge

Bill Doss of The Olivia Tremor Control
The Olivia Tremor Control / The Music Tapes @ Le Poisson Rouge
Photos: Chris / Review: Mike Koene

In the mid 90’s, as the guitars of grunge disintegrated angstily overhead, The Elephant 6 Collective began to not so quietly make a name for themselves on the burdgeoning underground neo-psych scene. Actually, they pretty much created the scene. Merging the sounds of '60s psychedelia with elements of musique concrète, jazz, and eastern european music (and with more than a dash of the aforementioned grunge), the bands of the Elephant 6 Collective succeeded in building a colorful body of music based on melody, experimentalism and a commitment to weirdness. Of the three original E6 bands (the other two being The Apples In Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel) The Olivia Tremor Control are perhaps the best example of the E6 aesthetic in all its floral glory.

The band took the stage at Le Poisson Rouge, joined by Neutral Milk Hotel alumni Scott Spillane and Julian Koster (who’s excellent band The Music Tapes opened the show), and started into “A Peculiar Noise Called “Train Director”” from 1999’s Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One. From then on, it was all California harmonies, tambourines and fuzz guitar (plus banjo, trumpet, a handful of organs, noisemakers, etc.). The band launched into a fan-friendly set, that while heavy on tunes from Black Foliage and their first album Dusk at Cubist Castle, also drew songs from their early singles to paint a picture that was at once almost unrelentingly sunny, but with an ominous underbelly. Highlights included “I’m Not Feeling Human”, the beatific “Define A Transparent Dream” (a personal favorite) and the nostalgic “California Demise” (their first release on E6). 

True to their free-wheeling form, bizarre tape loops sporadically sprouted unannounced and untethered from song-to-song. As the room suddenly became a little less solid, the assembled were treated to a medleyesque procession of tunes punctuated by a time-warp guitar meltdown courtesy of founding fathers and chief songwriters, Will Cullen Hart and Bill Doss. The psychedelic revival was again in full flower at Le Poisson Rouge, and as The Olivia Tremor Control took the stage for an encore, the feeling of communion and mutual gratitude between the audience and performers was undeniable. The band closed the show with a rousing version of “The Opera House," the first song off their first record, and graciously left the stage.

Be sure to stream the entire show over at NPR. Below, check out a full set of photos from last night's show including a photo of the setlist (that differs slightly from what they actually played)...
The Music Tapes

The Olivia Tremor Control

Olivia Tremor Control - 9/21/11 Setlist - Le Poisson Rouge
A Peculiar Noise Called "Train Director"
I'm Not Feeling Human
Memories of Jacqueline 1906
Define a Transparent Dream
A Place We Have Been To
The Game You Play Is In Your Head
Jumping Fences
Grass Canons
California Demise 3
Green Typewriters
Paranormal Echoes
I Have Been Floated
No Growing (Exegesis)
A Sleepy Company
The Sylvan Screen

Holiday Surprise 1,2,3
The Opera House