By: Captain Pownzor
Well hello, been a good long time since I posted yet again. I saw a concert over the past weekend that made me decide to write a lil’ something about what I ended up seeing and hearing this past Friday at The Mod Club in Toronto ON.
First of all let me start by saying I knew of The Morning Benders when I was asked to go, I was just not a rabid fan or anything. But from what I have heard there isn’t exactly a rabid fan following as it is, we did in fact run into the band at coffee before the show, only one of us recognizing them. I had seen them on La Blogeteque and heard some of the songs off Big Echo, so I said why not and went along to see what they were like live.
So on the way we were joking a bit about the openers. The first of which was called Oberhofer. We were thinking from the name they could be a German folk band, we couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Oberhofer is a 4 piece noisy indie rock outfit from Brooklyn. Think of a dreamier version of The Hives, complete with some elaborate whistling solos and even some almost devilish howling and screaming you would expect around some kind of native drum circle. They are simple stripped down, loud and fun. To see a band walk on stage at 6:30 erupt into the first song and just make such a joyous racket was certainly something to see. Could use a little work on maintaining the sound quality live, its a little ragged compared to their studio stuff. But they went on and had fun, as a result so did the sparse early going members of the audience and I. Probably the most memorable song of the set was "away frm u". The long pause before the opening riff that made everyone turn around from the bar and drop a jaw. Without much fuss Oberhofer was over not long after they started. Showing the true nature of a small tour Oberhofer tore down their equipment and carted it out before setting in at the bar to watch the other supporting act, Twin Sister.
Before the show I had eluded to how badass it would be if Twin Sister was a Twisted sister cover band. I’m gonna be harsh, It would have been probably more entertaining to see than what Twin Sister turned out to be.
Twin Sister is a 5 piece experimental pop band from Long island New York. Really not my cup of tea overall. Twin sister came across as lounge music. Their setup was massive, even larger so than the morning benders and it was to produce something close to a drab whimper of a tune. The band was emotionless, barely moving like they themselves were waiting in the elevator listening to the music they were playing. I gave a second chance listen on youtube and I must say the studio stuff is not so bad, I do however expect to be entertained a little when I am seeing the material live. Lead singer kept trying to overplay the lo-fi material and turn it into some otherworldly bjork style thing. Naw friends..only bjork can be as freaky as bjork just leave that one alone.
Leading me to the Morning benders, setting their own shit up as a band, no crazy introduction no insane Elvis music buildup no. Just 4 dudes from San Francisco getting up on stage setting their own equipment up and checking their own mics. Then just letting it rip. I have to say every single song that was done was so tight it was like album quality. The morning benders must either be robots or practice until they could play every song with both hands and blindfolded. For a small venue lighting was much more elaborate than I had expected, the band used blinding strobe lights, a giant wall behind them and even a bubble machine throughout the show. The phrase “More bubbles” could be heard quite often with the band in control of when it was let loose. Vocals for every song were spot on and the band showed great energy throughout the whole set. Finishing off with "excuses" the entire crowd sang along and could be heard echoing the chorus even out into the streets after the show was done. Although it was not a crazy mosh pit infused jump around type show. It was incredibly tight and exciting to watch. The pure showmanship and the ability to recreate the songs in a better than album quality is something that is a rare find in a performer since the dawn of digital recording and the dreaded auto-tune. It was hard to not feel like one of those crazy beatniks just grooving out to how good they sounded live. The Morning Benders Big Echo Tour is a reasonable ticket to go and see a great live show. I would recommend it to anyone and if they ever come back to my area again I will be in line for a ticket as well.
photo courtesy of Janelle Scriver Photograpy