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Saint Motel At Amoeba, Thursday November 3rd 2016, Reviewed

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Saint Motel

 

Each time I see Saint Motel, I think about summer, sun, fun times and vacation… it’s not a coincidence if the album cover of their last release shows a pretty blonde in a white bathing suit, diving in a sun-drenched swimming pool shaped as an old TV set. This is the embodiment of leisure. We certainly always have the sun in Los Angeles, but we are in November and summer vacations are now a vague memory. Fortunately, Saint Motel is releasing a new album ‘saintmotelevision’ via Elektra/Parlophone, and they were playing a free show at Amoeba on Thursday night for the occasion.

I have seen Saint Motel a ridiculous amount of times, ‘We are from here,’ said frontman A/J Jackson at one point, Los Angelenos have the occasion to see the band all the time, but this little acoustic show at Amoeba was their come back from a tour and sounded like a family reunion. The band seemed to know everyone in the audience, or acted as if they knew every person. Their music can be very explosive and festive, but they were playing an acoustic set, so the sound was more contained, the music less loud, while their catchy melodies were shining, but the low-key affair of the show, didn’t prevent the Saint Motel guys to make it festive and elaborated, and even a modest unplugged Amoeba gig had to have a trumpet and a saxophone, an important component of the Saint Motel sound now.

The new songs are really in the continuity of their party-atmosphere vibe, ‘Move’ is a hand-clap pop-rock song with a disco-dancefloor for a chorus and plenty of hooks, while ‘You Can Be You’ is a quieter whistle (especially the way they performed it at Amoeba) with A/J’s cool falsetto. But if the band is called indie, the music is very eclectic, genre-blurring and never boring with surprising shifts, always uplifting, often exulting joy and fun with a touch of melancholia. The song ‘Born Again’, which reaches Gospel-levels on the album, was rather lo-fi but still very enjoyable. The Saint Motel guys made the crowd clap and sing, but also jump in synch during ‘Move’, and I could feel the floor tremble under my feet. Surely, they played their hits ‘Puzzle Pieces’ and their chart topping single ‘My Type’, which sounded sweet and intimate.

Saintmotelevision’ was originally the name of a multimedia spectacular of music, dance, comedy, art, which was shut down by authorities before it even took place. The band has always had this cinematic component, releasing videos with their songs – they have released an impressive total of 17 official music videos – and these film-students are still very much attached to this magical combination, as they recently released ‘virtualizer,’ a video which ‘combines 360° animation and virtual reality technology that allows each viewer a chance to experience the music in a fully immersive manner.’ They also have plans to create virtual-reality-enhanced videos for more tracks from ‘saintmotelevision’.

Even during a simple acoustic set, they wanted people to get the most of it, they wanted to get playful, transporting the crowd into a fun zone, bright and sunny like a summer day at a swimming pool side. Of course, when they signed the album, they looked like the most down-to-earth people and behaved like old pals to their fans, showing that success has not spoiled them: When they released their ‘My Type EP’ in 2014, the title track and its companion video (directed by Jackson himself) got streaming figures in the tens of millions!

‘saintmotelevision’ was produced by Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids) and Tim Pagnotta (Walk The Moon) and A/J Jackson himself

Setlist
You Can Be You
Cold Cold Man
Feed me Know
Born again
Puzzle Pieces
Move
My Type

More pictures here

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