Published Apr 01, 2011The Dodos have always had a penchant for noise, but in the past, their metal and tribal influences have been tempered by their folksy leanings (plus the temporary addition of a vibraphone player). Not anymore. For their latest Vancouver appearance, the San Francisco group turned the Rickshaw Theatre into a full-blown fuzz rock spectacle, sending every fan in the building home with ears ringing.
The noisiness started with openers Reading Rainbow, who kicked off the evening with a set of fast, fun indie pop. The duo's sound evoked classic underground bands like Black Tambourine and the Shop Assistants, and every song was a pulse-racing blend of gritty guitars, cheerful boy-girl harmonies and peppy drums (which time-keeper Sarah Everton played while standing up). It was a compelling take on a familiar sound, although they didn't offer enough variety to remain interesting for the entire 40-minute-plus set.
As loud as Reading Rainbow were, the Dodos cranked their amps even higher. The duo of frontman Meric Long and percussionist Logan Kroeber were joined by a touring guitarist, and the trio began their set with a blistering version of "Good." Long didn't so much play his guitar as he did attack it, finishing the song with an explosion of screeching feedback.
From there, the group kept the energy high, drawing heavily on the newly released No Color and blazing through stand out tunes like "Black Night" and "Don't Stop." These were invariably punctuated by fiery, alt-rock-inspired guitar licks and dense, virtuosic drum fills; this gleeful display of rock'n'roll noise-mongering even inspired one fan to request a Rolling Stones song, to which Long jokingly replied, "I would if I could."
The Dodos closed out the night with a number of tracks from 2008's breakthrough Visiter. With the band's new setup, even the sombre "Winter" sounded tense and spiky, while sprawling cuts "Fools" and "The Season" were downright face-melting.
In past years, many Dodos fans questioned the group's forays into restrained, vibraphone-heavy folk pop. On this night, it was clear that they're back on track.