There was a lot of enthusiasm at the Minor Alps concert at the World Cafe, downstairs, this past Friday. The enthusiasm was for Mathew Caws of Nada Surf and Juliana Hatfield of Blake Babies not particularly for Minor Alps. The fans came to see them individually and with curiosity about what Minor Alps collectively produced. Everything said, it was a good concert and the performance top notch.
Sylvan Esso launched the night with their particular brand of looping and electronic music. The singer Amelia Meath moved with the music, played air instruments and danced a sort of ballet to the tuns. I was surprised by the quality and range of her voice, truly memorable. Her beat maker is Nick San born. He played his console like it was a symphony cello or violin, both demonstrative and passionate. Prior to the show I had not heard any of their music and enjoyed it all. They played for about 45 minutes and performed ,I believe, 6 songs. They were all interesting and received a very positive response form the audience. The audience and I agreed that “You Know We Can,” Play It Right,” and “Modern Wolf” were the songs that received the loudest applause.
I have been a major fan of Nada Surf for years so I was interested to see what Mathew Caws and Juliana created collectively as Minor Alps.. I like the power, the musical style, lyrics and vocals of Nada Surf. Many of their songs delve into the everyday and magnify it into something interesting and complex. An example being the song “Fruit Fly,” give it a listen. I was not well acquainted with Juliana Hatfield's work, but I have given her a good look see in the last couple of weeks. Her early work is raw and her later stuff more complex and textured.
This was an acoustic concert something very different for both artist. If you have ever seen either Nada Surf or Blake Babies you would never describe any of their work as acoustic. I really did not think it would translate well, for the most part it did. Other than two guitars, Juliana used a stripped down synthesizer to add a little beat and some very limited background for songs like “Buried Plans, “ and “I Don't Know What to Do With My Hands.” On the CD Juliana's voice seems to be the more featured, while live Mathew's voice was by far the more dominate. I've always thought his voice was very unusual, sort of other worldly. On many levels I prefer the live performance over the album. His voice and the fact we were also treated to some of her stuff as well as some of my favorite Nada Surf cuts made the concert more appealing to me.
Minor Alps performed 21 songs:
“I Wanna Take You Home” Nada Surf
“If I Wanted Trouble”
“Candy Wrappers” Juliana Hatfield
“Wish You Were...