Buke and Gase Media Club, Vancouver, BC, February 14
Published Feb 15, 2013Buke and Gase are Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez, a pair of Brooklynites who took their name from the unique instruments they play. Lead singer Dyer plays a six-string baritone ukulele ("buke") employed like a mutant guitar, its patchwork body incorporating steel salvaged from an automobile while its neck is a halved pipe. Sanchez plays a guitar as a four-string bass ("gase"), as well as a glowing kick drum that effectively illuminated both of their faces in the dim club. Furthermore to this, they have various pedals, effects, a "toe-bourine" shaker concoction, and who knows what else. With a background in post-punk noise, their sound is organized chaos.
Dyer appeared a little on the serious side early, requesting the lights to be lowered and requesting more gase in the mix. Yet by their second song, a slightly faster version of "Hiccup" from their recent sophomore album General Dome, a glowing grin grew across her face. Despite some dude in the crowd trying to poke her with a pink flamingo, her smile persisted for the duration of their set. The ecstasy of exhibition was apparent as they managed to recapture if not exceed much of their studio magic, particularly Dyer's scintillating vocals, without losing that spark of a live, in-the-moment performance.
Still, their show wasn't all that dynamic from a stage-presence perspective. The inherent joy on Dyer's face aside, the duo stayed sitting throughout their set, since they had to employ most of their limbs at all times. What's more, though, their sound is truly distinctive, its incessant assault ended up pushing their songs to the verge of running together by the end of their set. Dyer's rare spot of banter was also a little awkward, though she refreshingly downplaying her excitement of being in Vancouver by saying it was pretty nice and noting a good noodle bowl they enjoyed earlier.
On the whole, though, their set had many breathtaking moments. Dyer's vocals were sweetly sublime for the moving "Twisting the Lasso of Truth," and then turned to more aggressive shout-singing for the very next song, "Outt!" from their 2010 debut Riposte, shooting a coy, impish smile across the stage as she did.
Later, their rendition of the title track from General Dome was nigh explosive. They can play like the dickens. Though the modest Valentine's Day crowd had somewhat dwindled by the encore, the duo got everyone left stomping for "Revel in Contempt" in their encore.