Tapes 'n Tapes, Oberhofer, Les Americains
February 19, 2011
Better than: Seeing yet another mediocre opening band.
At around 10:40 p.m. on Saturday night at The Loft, Tapes 'n Tapes ambled onto the stage before a nearly packed venue, channeling the '90s bands that inspired them. Clad in blue jeans, T-shirts, rough-looking sneakers and a nonchalant, "I just rolled out of bed and now I'm going to play music" attitude, the band seemed primed to please.
Unfortunately, though, their set started out really rough. And, after playing through a few songs and sounding a little bit off, the band even admitted it, announcing that they were having technical difficulties. It was a fixable problem, but it put a damper on their set, nonetheless. Trying to distract the crowd with an impromptu Q&A session (in which the audience offered up brilliant and insightful questions, like "Can I make you dinner?") didn't really help.
But it did buy the band some time to get the issue solved.
The second time around, the sound was very much improved, with the bass thumping away while guitars jangled, and frontman Josh Grier managing to look intense and apathetic at the same time -- no easy feat.
With the issues fixed, both the band and the audience seemed to become re-energized, especially when Tapes 'n Tapes performed songs off of their first and most popular album, The Loon. The playlist was a combination of The Loon and the band's most recent album, Outside, which, like the rest of their output, has likewise failed to receive the same critical success as the first effort. But the crowd seemed to recognize and enjoy the newer numbers just as well as the older ones, with Tapes 'n Tapes ending the night on their latest single, "Freak Out," which got the biggest reaction of the night from the audience -- a combination of screaming hysteria and stylish head rocking.
It was a solid ending. But the best part of the night was the opening band, Oberhofer.
Brad Oberhofer and the rest of his band played a clean and polished set, showcasing the finesse and grace of a much older, more experienced group. They were in sync the whole night, with their dapper shoes gliding across the stage to the tune of beachy noise pop bred by catchy guitar hooks and skilled instrumentation. The set was nearly flawless, the band being so in tune with each other they seemed to anticipate what each other would do. It was either the result of hard work and practice or eerie mind-reading powers.
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In the end, both bands won the crowd over. Not a bad Saturday night at all.
Personal Bias: I went in to The Loft as a Tapes 'n Tapes fan, although I had never seen the band play live before. It's fair for me to say, though, that Oberhofer was far more impressive. Don't be surprised when they become huge.
Random Note: People in Dallas need to lighten up. There were points during the show where I was embarrassed by how little of a reaction the crowd was giving the bands, especailly considering that both played spectacularly.
By the way: The first opening band, Dallas' Les Americains, didn't know how to pronounce "Oberhofer."