Atlas Sound at High Dive, Seattle | 6 March 2008
I was walking home from the bus last night right around dusk and the sky over the Olympic Mountains was dark, but it was cracked open with bright sky showing through. I was listening to the Atlas Sound album Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel and it was the perfect soundtrack for that ominous and majestic sky. Cut to the High Dive later that night and Bradford Cox saying ‘can you change the lighting, I feel like I’m in a sewer’. Cox comes across as a funny, amiable guy on stage. At one point he asked the audience what kind of music they were into, someone yelled out Slowdive, and then somebody yells Souvlaki Space Station. Cox, says, I don’t know them, and then the guy yells, “It’s a Slowdive Song”. Bradford deadpans, “I’m not really into shoegaze.”
Atlas Sound definitely has Slowdive like sound, but I thought it was the dub-like bass lines last night that kept reminding me of Slowdive. Don’t get me wrong the soaring effects laden guitars last night were very plentiful, but Atlas Sound were firmly grounded with an ace all girl rhythm section which made the songs really get into some hypnotic grooves. Between songs the band was all about goofing off, playing parts Collective Soul songs to hilarious affect and giving us a bit of a Chicago House Music send-up. They kicked off their set with post-rockish Cold as Ice and then stepped it up with an excellent version River Card, which was anchored by an excellent dub-bass line. Getting lost in the haze of guitar, I found the show coming to an end just as it seemed to be starting. I looked at my watch and realized that they’d played for a little more than an hour, essentially playing their entire album.
mp3: Slowdive – Souvlaki Space Station (from Souvlaki)
I caught opener White Rainbow, which is Adam Forkner. He also plays guitar in Atlas Sound. Watching White Rainbow was kind of like watching paint dry. Forkner sat cross- legged on the floor cradling his guitar and surrounded by effects pedals and a small keyboard. He stayed in that position the entire time. He started off with an ambient hum, gradually adding sampled effects from his guitar and keyboard, and finally looped beat. The entire set was one long piece of music, kind of cool to hear, but watching it wasn’t the most exciting thing.