I randomly bought Oakland-based Numbers' debut album, Life, about 6 months ago. NMWYH staff writer, Kevin Gregorius, and I were immediately enthralled with the album and eagerly attended a rocking late-Fall performance here in Minneapolis. So when the opportunity arose again to see these cats, there was no question we would risk a tired day on the job the following day to partake.
Ssion. NMWYH Rating: a measly out of five stars. We arrived at the Triple Rock Social Club before any of the opening bands had gone on. We were greeted rather rudely by the DJ's studies in sonic static and promptly removed ourselves to the adjacent bar. Following a monster tub of potato-fritter things, we meandered back into the venue hoping to catch the end of the performance by Kansas City's Ssion (pronounced "shun"), the final opener. Instead, Ssion hadn't begun. So, the "three-piece" prances on to the stage dressed in full body costumes (that looked pretty damn good, I have to say) as a chicken, a cow and a lion; according to their label's website their album, Opportunity Bless My Soul is a "concept album written and directed by Cody about animals who make a hit record and become famous, snooty aristocrats." The show consisted of pre-recorded music, elaborate costumes, sarcastic choreography, and an animated cartoon that synched up with the music — this last element being undoubtedly the most captivating.
Cody Critcheloe, the lead singer and mastermind behind Ssion, clearly is a talented artist. As you might be able to deduce from their album cover to the right, Critcheloe also designed the album cover for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Fever to Tell. But in the 15 or so years of being a concertgoer, this was the least engaging, most ridiculous live show that I have ever attended. My opinion is not based on the fact that there was no live music; after all, I'm a big fan of Har Mar Superstar's live act. But taken in its entirety, the performance left a monstrous void in my evening. The music's social commentary aside, for the most part I found the music played over loudspeakers to be juvenile and obnoxious. Aside from a couple boogeymen up front, most of the crowd appeared to me to be equally as aghast. You can download a few album tracks from the band's website.
Numbers. NMWYH Rating: a solid out of five stars. Finally at 12:45 p.m., Numbers came out on stage for an expectedly brief 45-minute performance. The three-piece is comprised of Indra Dunis on drums and vocals, Erik Landmark on vocals, a Moog and his homemade analogalicious Buzzerk (!), and Dave Broekema on guitar. Numbers fashions that type of danceable punk that has been oh the rave in the past 18 months. But while you can say that The Rapture sounds like a combination between Public Image Limited and the Cure or that Radio 4 sounds like Gang of Four, you can less accurately pigeonhole Numbers as derivative of one specific influence.