Magic Shoppe with The Foreign Resort
The Lilypad, October 25, 2014Review and photos by John Keegan
The aftermath of early shows presents a logistical, glass half-full, glass half-empty dilemma: what to do at 9:30 on a Saturday night. In this case, half-full was in play. The Crank-Tones are at the Midway (too far, wrong direction) and Magic Shoppe and The Foreign Resort are at Lilypad (just right). Lilypad is cozy, small and off the mainline at 1353 Cambridge Street, Inman Square. They have a refreshingly eclectic booking policy that opens its arms to jazz, rock, dance and spazz. The most venerable Fringe bring the wild jazz thing every Monday night at 10:30. Forty years on, the Fringe are still Avant jazz punks and an absolute must hear. The room is open floor tonight, an improvement over the spartan slab benches used for seated shows.
Foreign Resort are trio from Denmark. They wear their Cure drenched hearts on their sleeves. They give Ian Curtis a nod. They look good in the light of the killing moon. Echo, delay, flange, decay. Henrik Fischlein's insistent bass keeps feet moving. Morten Hansen's drums rattle and crack and push the hips around. Mikkel B. Jakobsen's vocals are expressive without drowning in whine and his guitar crescendos rock with the sustained yowl of a wolf pack on the scent. Trigger happy loops and beats fill in the gaps. Mikkel mentions that they have played in Boston a couple of times prior to tonight. He thanks the dance contingent and his band leaves the floor to the sound of solid applause.
Lilypad has no stage. The bands are on the floor with you. The proximity, especially up front, pulls you into the vortex of bodies, sound and light. Better living through technology is on display as the small PA wraps the room in decibels. (Too many decibles? That's a question for another time). There's a dude in the corner pushing his laptop to manipulate projections for both bands. Words, scenes, and abstract shapes and patterns melt and morph into and out of each other. They play off the scrim behind the bands. The movement of players and instruments corrupt the flow of the images and cast mad shadows in the diorama.
Magic Shoppe walks on. Kris Thompson from Abunai! is on bass. Chris Pearson from Green Magnet School shares vocals and plays guitar. Joshia Webb handles most of the vocals and wields another guitar. They are breaking in a new guy - Roger Poulin - on a third guitar and someone mentions that Kate, the fourth guitar player, is out for the evening. That is one shitload of guitars.
A few minor technical difficulties are resolved and the band gets off. The reverbs and phasers battle it out for best lysergic howl. The tunes build in layers. The math of it spits out ghost tonalities. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The sound is molten. It drips from the walls. The projections work their wiles to displace. Bass and drums keep the rocket on course for the boundary between the inner and outer space ways. Heads are nodded. Feedback is wrangled. Chakras are realigned. Shoes are gazed. Oh my.