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The Dodos, Calexico And A Power Outage At The Henry Fonda Theater, Wednesday October 24th 2012

As so many others, the Dodos is one of these bands I have heard and read about but never seen live, despite the fact the San Francisco duo has played numerous times in Los Angeles. So I was ready to discover their music on Wednesday night, as they were opening for Calexico, a band that, in contrast I have seen numerous times. But nature had decided something else! Is there a curse of the dodo? After all it is also an extinct bird, I bet they have heard this a million times…


I exaggerate a little bit because Meric Long and Logan Kroeber were able to play a few songs, but were abruptly interrupted by a power outage that kept everyone in suspense for about an hour is it coming back? – but finally forced the theater to cancel the show at the disappointment of everyone there, still hanging out after an hour in the dark, holding a glass and a cell phone as a lamp torch.


Sometimes I think I live in a sort of third world country! Last night, the winds were strong, but it wasn’t even close to a hurricane! What happened? The city wasn’t able to restore electricity after an hour and the whole neighborhood was in the dark for I-don’t-know-how-long… Although stopping a show was a premiere for me, it is far from being the first time it happened – power outages are regularly happening during heat waves. What can I say, California is supposedly the eight largest economy in the world, but it has this third-world-nation side,… just look at our roads.


Anyway, the Dodos were very lucky compared to Calexico, as they probably did half of their set, and their music was a drum-guitar duo affair, played with energy and bright melodies. The few songs they played – and I just get the impression it was a little short to write about them – were quite diverse. Some, like ‘Black Night’, were building this tense dynamic between drum and guitar, while Meric Long’s vocals dominated and commanded the scene, strong and deep above the drum squalls. ‘Walking’ had a much more folk-acoustic sound, with a super gentle drumming, just brushing the drums and ‘Red and Purple’ had this peculiar drumming I had never really heard before, fast and almost cyclic and maniacal, as if there were several people behind the drums at the same time – almost African-Brazilian style? – while Long’s youthful vocals were totally contrasting with their nostalgic-dreamy vibe. There was dissonance and harmony, and the songs were more complex than they seemed at first, changing and hypnotic, with galloping rhythms and even growing into a bigger rocking sound with more depth, when suddenly, it was over for the power duo, the power was out!

‘You guys we're rocking too hard’ screamed someone! After two announcements to tell us that they were waiting to hear from the city, then that the city could not bring the lights back, the rest of the show never happened. However, Calexico came on stage in the dark and played their shortest set ever, one song, 'Minas de Cobre’ totally unplugged, and it sounded totally great of course. In fact, they could have continued and nobody would have complained.

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