About 5 years ago, I was pretty into Enon
's first album, Believo!
, which I'd checked out mainly on the basis of the involvement of ex-members of Skeleton Key. It was like an ideal combination of tuneful indie rock and chaotic samples and percussion. And at the time I really wanted to see them live, but it seemed like every time they played in the area it was on a night when I had some other commitment or was out of town, there must've been a half dozen times I just barely missed seeing them in the course of a couple years, including once when I went to a Dismemberment Plan show they were supposed to open but there'd been a blizzard in NY and they didn't make it to DC. In the years since then, they've undergone a few lineup changes, and released a couple more albums. I was initially pretty disappointed by High Society
, mainly because the addition of Toko Yasada meant that suddenly half their songs were synth pop with chirpy emotionless female vocals, which wasn't really what I was expecting or in the mood for. It seems to be their most popular/acclaimed album, though, go figure. It grew on me eventually, but after that, my interest was diminished and I didn't even bother with their next album.
But last week Enon played at the Ottobar, and I figured what the hell, I might as well see them live finally. I got there after the last opening band while they were setting up, so I don't know how long they were setting up before I got there, but it was a good 45 minutes before they started playing, which is about as long as they actually played once they got going. They seemed to be having a lot of technical difficulties. I hope for the sake of the band and their fans in other cities that that isn't a common occurence. The first half of their set was heavy on the chirpy synth pop stuff, and they played along to backing tracks from the records for a lot of songs. I get annoyed with live bands that rely to heavily on that stuff, especially when they have an awesome drummer, which Enon does. For the 2nd half their set, they dropped the loops and really let the drummer loose with a lot more of the guitar-driven stuff. They played a lot of High Society songs, which was alright with me (although they neglected my favorites -- "Diamond Raft", people! "Window Display"!). It's a good thing I didn't get my hopes up for any Believo! songs, which they didn't play at all. Not bad overall, though. "Old Dominion" is ridiculously heavy live.
After the show, I went to the merch table and bought their new CD, Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence, which is a compilation of a bunch of rare and previously released stuff, although not nearly all of it. I could be wrong, but it seems like relatively few indie bands are constantly putting out 7"s and appearing on compilations at the pace that Enon does, that seems like such a 80's/90's thing. But they have so much stuff out there. Lost Marbles is getting praised in a lot of places for being as cohesive and consistent as their proper albums, but that's not really saying anything, since Enon's albums are kind of erratic and all over the place, which is what I like about them anyway. I kinda wish they'd tried to be more comprehensive, though, instead of just selecting enough to make a 40-minute album. Jeffy is totally right that "Kanon" is a standout, although it was even better live.
Lost Marbles came with a DVD, too, which was one of my motivations for picking it up instead of the last album I initially skipped. The videos are nice, and it's kind of admirable for an indie band to even be making 3 videos per album. But I have to admit that if I saw any of them on MTV2 without having heard the band already I'd probably be turned off by them. There's also some decent live footage and a lot of montages of silly sub-Year Punk Broke tour antics. The live stuff from back when Rick Lee was still in the band really makes me regret that I didn't see them back then, though. Enon, Skeleton Key, Butter 08...why can't that dude stay in a band for more than one record?
Labels: concerts, Enon