Sunset Rubdown @ The Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA 06/23/09

Sunset Rubdown

Sunset Rubdown

Whenever travelling, one is at their most alert state: adapting to new surroundings, modifying to fresh crowds of people and attempting to be flexible enough to make these changes. When the opportunity arose to attend a Sunset Rubdown show in one of Los Angeles’ premiere clubs featuring independent music, to be succinct, it was a no brainer. And as Camilla Wynne Ingr pointed out ,”We played our first American gig here, but upstairs. And now we’ve made it to the bottom” it was obvious that for this Canadian band, they had indeed, made it. So quite honestly, it didn’t matter what kind of changes I needed to make.

Elfin Saddle and Witchies were at best, decent opening acts. The latter far more interesting and musical than the former but both-equally as much-left a great deal to be desired. Luckily for all of us in attendance, Spencer Krug and co. were up to the task. Their first tour featuring newest member, Mark Nicol, the band lit up the stage at The Echoplex in splendid fashion with all of their fine features in true form: Krug’s spastic, eccentric ways, the band’s musicianship always in top form, watching Krug’s every move, and the overall sonic endearment of it all.

Bursting at the seams with vivid stage presence, Krug convulses and shakes like few artists out there. Beginning with a dreamy, ambient initiation, it later turned into a frenetic rendition of “Idiot Heart.” And bouncing around while furiously striking away at his guitar, Krug’s hair blowed to the air of his personal fan while the band around him catered to his every need. Later on, they would open up their older catalog, with “Winged/Wicked Things”‘s moving and stunning music being one of the many highlights. The drums now louder than ever, pounding away in a relentless manner, the menacing guitars swirling around and Krug’s “ba-de-da-de-dum” chant to join the guitar melody all played chief roles.

Sunset Rubdown

Sunset Rubdown

And although the crowd resembled a forest of chirping birds-shout after shout of requests-Krug and the band were amiable, continuing to cheer and toast the crowd after what seemed like nearly every song. Usually, the way I see it, it’s a treat to even get a band to travel to El Paso, but I guess obligatory as it may seem for the band, the crowds are used to it and feel as is they can shout what ever they like to the band. Nonetheless, Krug and his band laid out their set and promised to play a lot of “new stuff and a few older ones” for us.

The slamming music of “Black Swan” turned one of Dragonslayer‘s more confusing songs into a realm of pulsating thunder and clashing lightning. Juxtaposed between passive introductions and sudden forzandos, the song really came to life in a live setting. And the crowd was giddy with excitement when the Japanese-like guitar of “The Mending of the Gown” came screaming in.

Especially sweet was the ending of the concert, with “Dragon’s Lair” performed in its entirety. What seems like a given standard, the encore ended with members of Elfin Saddle rejoining the stage to perform “Nightingale/December Song.” Not only did Sunset Rubdown render the song in such a fashion that it recalled stampeding wildebeests, forcefully banging down a hill but it was such a fitting ending: climactic, powerful and in Sunset Rubdown style, epic.

Jagjaguwar