Last night we endured the rain to stop in and see one of our very favorite bands, Plants and Animals, play the biggest room we've seen them in to date: Bowery Ballroom. Frankly, we couldn't be happier we did - the band delivered an amazing set that not only demonstrated their consistently expanding musical palette, but also made a solid traversal of both of their (fantastic) records.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Openers Lost In The Trees hit the stage at 9 o'clock, and delivered close to an hour of intricate, exceptional musicianship. The set was an amalgam of an incredible array of styles, ranging from folk, to blues, to rock. Moreover, the band demonstrated an incredible ability to navigate the stylistic variations seamlessly as a unit.
That navigation included not only expert technical skills, but a fair dose of multi-instrumentalists, as at least half the band managed to switch instruments at least once during the set. Combine that with the band's closing, unmiked performance in the middle of the ballroom floor, and you've got yourself one hell of an enjoyable opening set.
Plants and Animals hit the stage a little after ten, and were immediately in top form as the band launched into an explosive version of "Undone Melody". However, the set was not to follow the La La Land dominated form of their April show at Union Hall. Instead, the band immediately delved into some Parc Avenue tracks with a fantastic version of "Good Friend".
The set continued in much that manner, ebbing and flowing between the band's records. The variation served not only to contrast the two, but also find the spots where they connect and share momentum. Apart, La La Land can seem a bit like its own beast, but when sharing a setlist, the sonic unity becomes much clearer.
The band has clearly been honing their craft even further on tour, and is expanding their sound and stage presence to account for growing venue size. We've always been blown away by Plants and Animals' interplay and ability to create epic rock music that seems far larger than a trio might indicate, but last night the band made it clear that they've taken their already impressive skills and ramped them up a notch. "Feedback In The Fields" was amazingly driven, and "Mama Papa" took the already rocking album version to a new level.
As the show came to a close, Lost In The Trees joined the band on stage to sing an epic chorus of "Bye Bye Bye" that made it seem as though that might be it - it seemed somewhat un-toppable. Yet anyone who thinks as much would be naive: the band quickly returned to play the most epic and frenetic version of "Mercy" that we've ever heard. Convincing the crowd to join in on the chant of "M-E-R-C-Y", Plants and Animals left us with absolutely no doubt that they're more than ready to take on the world, and frankly, we can't wait.
Many more pictures at the HAD Archive