Califone, Wooden Indian, Destruction Unit, North Brother Island - The Icehouse - 3/21/14

Califone, Destruction Unit, Cherie Cherie, Los Puchos The Icehouse 3/21/14

Wooden Indian didn't merely put on a concert Friday night at the Icehouse -- they created an experience, transforming the cavernous downtown Phoenix arts venue into an otherworldly sonic happening. And the evening was every bit as epic as Wooden Indian lead singer Wally Boudway and his psychedelic indie-folk crew promised it would be.

The collaboration of Rutili, Wooden Indian, and a violinist created some rather extraordinary sounds in their set, some of which I had literally never heard before. Their music, mixed with the puppet show taking place in one corner and the projections on the wall helped make the already mysterious venue seem all the more otherwordly.

About half the people in the crowd stood still or sat down, and half danced gently to the delicate tunes.

The fact that the performance was held in the Icehouse's Cathedral Room seemed appropriate, given that it had a somewhat reverent air. Talking in the audience was seemingly looked down upon, and even the band itself seemed to treat things more as theater than just an ordinary musical performance.

Every note was hit just right and with delicate precision as Wooden Indian hoped to impress their guests with their musical prowess. And Rutili seemed equally calculated in his playing during the evening, making sure the up-and-coming band will fondly remember playing with one of their favorites. He seemed even more alive while playing with an unfamiliar band, and for its part, Wooden Indian was ecstatic to play with Rutili.

After Califone faded out, Destruction Unit plowed into their set full blast inside the adjacent Silver Room. The Tempe-based noise punks looked undeniably rock 'n' roll while the red lights blared off the reflective surfaces behind the stage, and the room filled with fog. Their set was just flat-out powerful as they brought the thunder to the Cathedral Room. They started loud, the stayed loud, and ended loud. The best adjective to describe their set, other then loud, would have to be jarring.

The volume went from a 15 down to a five following Destruction Unit's ear-punishing set when the chamber folk five-piece North Brother Island took over the vibe. After the energy was both furious and clamorous for Destruction Unit, it transformed into an eerie specter hovering above the crowd. The band played quiet and pretty songs of oddities and tragedies to the absolute peak of their abilities.

But almost as significant to their set as their own musicianship were the spectacular acoustics in the White Column room where they played. It is almost as if the band was just meant to be heard in that concrete room housed with beautiful acoustics. The ambiance of the dimly lit setting and the wonderful echoes of North Brother Island's sound almost made it feel like an out of body experience.

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: Califone, Wooden Indian, Destruction Unit, and North Brother Island at The Icehouse

Openers: Cherie Cherie and Los Puchos opened the night, while Wooden Indian played the last live set. Djentrification then took over the musical entertainment, doing what Djent does best: sending everyone home danced out, satisfied, and smiling.

Before the Show: I had Destruction Unit's record Deep Trip. I did not like it, so I sold it to Matt Spastic for $8.

After the Show: If anyone sees Button Struggler or Man Hands in the near future, tell Matt I want my record back.

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Jeff Moses
Contact: Jeff Moses