Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Spin.com: It Happened Last Night w/ Takka Takka

huge thanks to William Goodman and the entire Spin.com staff!

Oxford Collapse, Takka Takka Take Over Nation's Capital
Brooklyn bands open for the Scots of Frightened Rabbit, wow crowd.

Takka Takka's Gabriel Levine / Photo by Nestor Diaz

A steamy night in the nation's capital was the scene for a sold-out show at Black Cat's backstage last night, June 30. Glasgow's Frightened Rabbit were headliners, but the opening bands demonstrated how exciting music can be on this side of the Atlantic. Takka Takka and Oxford Collapse more than took over the stage, albeit in very different ways.

Takka Takka initiated the proceedings, and serenity filled the room. Sun-spotted drone (think Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on a methadone drip) gave way to lush soundscapes that called to mind frozen tundras and burning hearts, while frontman Gabriel Levine played his guitar like he was choking the chords out and shut his eyes tight behind his Buddy Holly frames. Set highlight "Silence," off their forthcoming LP, Migration (July 29, Ernest Jenning), transcendently contradicted its title, as the band wrapped barely there atmospherics around spacey vocals.

On the other hand, three-piece Oxford Collapse rushed through their set like the stage was on fire, treating the audience to 45 minutes of glorious noise. Most of the songs played like pop-punk that had been mercifully attacked with a chainsaw, and the energy onstage was reflected back by the shouts and shakes coming from the audience. The band tested out new material from the forthcoming Bits (Aug. 5, Sub Pop), including "John Blood," a blistering number they performed with Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison. Other peaks came from old favorites, like when singer/guitarist Michael Pace and co-vocalist/bassist Adam Rizer traded screamed barbs on "Lady Lawyers," or when the absolute hammering joy of "Molasses" belied the song's name.

After Takka Takka's set, this was all a bit of a jolt, but the two bands complemented each other like the pleasant haze of being halfway between dreams and waking life, followed by a triple espresso.