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Couple of Mavericks

The Dodos at the MFA, October 2, 2008
By CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  October 8, 2008

FOLKY, NOT FOLKSY: Sarah Palin couldn’t compete with the Dodos last Thursday.

Even though the Dodos’ show a week ago Thursday at the Museum of Fine Arts sold out, the San Franciscan duo were aware of a conflicting engagement. “Welcome to the 2008 Vice-Presidential Debates,” singer Meric Long joked with ironic solemnity.

The timing was all the two events had in common. Whereas Sarah Palin spewed folksy, confused verbiage, the Dodos (signed to Les Savy Fav’s Frenchkiss Records last December) played endearingly folk-y music — acoustic guitars and percussion, peppered with avant-garde elements — for a stuffed Remis Auditorium. And unlike their flightless namesakes, they often seemed on the verge of flying off, that due in part to Logan Kroeber’s frenzied drumming (augmented by a clattering tambourine strapped firmly to his shoe). Long sat hunched over his guitar, as though channeling the energy to keep up with Kroeber, alternating between quick strums and even quicker fingerpicking. Percussionist Joe Haener, who’s accompanying the band on tour, hopped in to give a metal trash can a whack or plunk an enormous xylophone.

They performed their most captivating number, “Fools,” early in the set, Long’s fluid tenor croon contrasting with Kroeber’s frantic booms and snaps. Both parts crescendo’d and decrescendo’d in simultaneous waves until the song burst into fits of shouts, then drifted off in a sea of vocal harmonies.

Songs like “Jodi” and “It’s That Time Again” showcase their energetic brand of percussive, sometimes bluesy folk. In “Joe’s Waltz,” on the other hand, and the ending of “Fools,” the ominous, odd shouts and out-of-nowhere tempo shifts felt lifted from Animal Collective. Not that an AC reference is a bad thing, but it’s like someone offering you a crisp, delicious French fry stolen from a stranger’s table. Even with the occasional pilfering, however, the Dodos’ set was coherent — and way more sensible than Sarah Palin.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , Elections and Voting, Politics, U.S. Politics,  More more >
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