The Fillmore, San Francisco, March 2nd and 4th, 2006
I am a huge fan of the Stereolab. While they may not be flashy or bombastic, they are wonderful in their sophisication and harmonious vivacity.
Stereolab shows are such a pleasure to witness, I had to get tickets to both of their shows at the San Francisco Fillmore; I knew that even if the show was the same both nights, it would only saturate my brain that much more with positive vibrations. My 3rd and 4th times seeing them play, the show on March 2nd sticks out as the most enjoyable of all. Stereolab's controlled consonant sonic gifts synergized perfectly with the Fillmore's elegant, yet relaxed atmosphere. The Fillmore is a most excellent venue and while the group played their space age rock musik, the film screen behind them played tailor-made videos of Constructivistic abstract montages or time-elapsed carnvial rides spinning like pop-art pinwheels, enhancing the mood of the audio quite well.
Stereolab should be listed on Erowid.org, as the effects of listening to their music are more akin to taking a drug than any other band that comes to mind. With energetically trance-like harmonies and sublime vocalizing, intermittenly broken by subtle horn lines, they always produce pleasant daydreams that manifest into almost solid hallucinations of estcatic wonderlands. Laetitia Sadier's physical grace and charm complement her coconut-milk sweet vocals divinely. The drummer, Andy Ramsey, has such a sharp heavy sound that is amazingly fast and precise for the complexity of the repitious grooves. Not including Laetitia, the group rarely seemed to break a sweat while they played and, if I had one compliant, it is that they seem a little too shy to let their bodies rock out like the fans do. On the second night, they seemed a bit more relaxed and Laetitia danced more than usual. The most infectious rhythms were found on "Miss Modular," "Eye of the Volcano" and "Mountain." "Mountain" really broke loose at the end where the band started trancing it out with the bass/drums pounding and the synths getting very Pink Floydy, "Interstellar Space" psychedelic, leading into a cacophonous crescendo.
"Whisper Pitch" from their new album, Fab Four Suture, which came out on March 7th, was very melodic, soothing, and intricate with a counterpointal Phillip Glass thing going. The new tracks don't sound terribly different from the older stuff. Usually, it frustrates me when a band doesn't push boundaries with each new album, but with Stereolab, I don't mind because they are such a touchstone of audio bliss that consistently pleases me.
The quality of their live sound is astoundingly fresh, loud, and clean like it comes straight off their excellently produced albums. I look forward to hearing their new album and highly recommend the live sonic resonant experience of the Stereolab group.
- Joe Martinez
Look for a review of their new album, here soon.
Joe Martinez is a regular contributor to Turntable & Blue Light.
Photo taken by Joe Martinez.