Real Live Action


w/ The Entrance Band & Resorts

Biltmore Cabaret; October 2, 2010

Review By Will Pedley

In stark contrast to the decidedly ‘60s/’70s psych/retro leanings of the other two bands on the bill, tonight’s opening band, Resorts, evidently take their inspiration from much more recent advances in music. Conjuring the same dramatic atmosphere as Portishead, their contemporary spin on trip-hop accomplishes the awkward trick of sounding simultaneously super maxed-out chillin’ and broodingly sinister. Usually the prospect of two guys nodding their heads behind laptops is a recipe for severe tedium but they avoid such pitfalls by adding live vocals, clarinet and the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) amidst the clicking of buttons and tweaking of knobs.

The Entrance Band specializes in seriously high-grade psychedelia. It is a testament to the creative fertility of the band that they don’t play anything from last year’s eponymous debut, and that this omission doesn’t feel disappointing. As if it wasn’t already blindingly obvious that the band wished it was still 1967, they ran through a brilliant rendition of Love’s “A House Is Not A Motel,” just to emphasize the point. Much of their new material finds them heading in a looser and more expansive blues rock direction with the guitar so heavily saturated in reverb, delay and vibrato that if it wasn’t for the rhythm section keeping it tethered down with such a massive groove, it would come loose from its moorings and float off into the cosmos.

If the Entrance Band represents the seed sown by the psych-rock bands of the late ‘60s, Dungen then—in their reverence for the prog-rock bands of the following decade—symbolize the flowering of this plant. When they’re indulging in full on jazz-infused, fuzz pedal oblivion, Dungen are mind-meltingly awesome but, due to the sheer power of songs like “Högdalstoppen”, the more melodic offerings like “Marken Låg Stilla” struggle to cut it. This may also be due in part to the only weak element of tonight’s performance—the singing of Gustav Estjes. His voice doesn’t carry the same wistful lilt that can be found on the band’s studio output and, compared with the band’s otherwise flawless musicianship, it sounded weak.

That said, as the composer of all of the band’s music, it is hard not to forgive him. It also seems churlish to criticise someone who showed such disarming humility, as he said sincerely after his apocalyptic-acid-blues- freakout “All this is happening because of you”.

It would be nice to be able to take some of the credit for such brilliantly monstrous sounds, and maybe we can just a little, but Dungen were not just channelling the energy of the audience gathered in the Biltmore, but of something ethereal and much less tangible, the spirit of Zappa, King Crimson and a million other bands lost to the annals of time.