Saddle Creek | The Mynabirds | Reviews


What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood

Author: Greg Lozoff
09/21/2010 | | | Live Show Preview
Sunday night Il Motore played host to three musical acts from very different parts of the musical spectrum. Montreal's The Panda Attack would start things off, followed by Omaha, Nebraska's The Mynabirds and former Pedro The Lion front man David Bazan who is on tour throughout North-America in support of his debut full length solo LP, Curse Your Branches, which came out on September 1st on Barsuk Records.

I wasn't sure what to expect as I walked into Il Motore last night, being a Sunday night and all, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were quite a few people who had showed up early to check out Montreal native Matthew McAllister (AKA The Panda Attack) and his heartfelt, emotional acoustic ballads. McAllister, who also plays the drums in Montreal screamo band Breaking The Fourth Wall, stood up on the Il Motore stage and behind a mane of curly brown hair, sang his heart out, eyes closed while everyone got settled in with their drinks and friends. It's hard to believe that he plays in a screamo band because his solo music is as far from screamo as can be. He showed some pretty nice looping skills at the end of his set, showing that he definitely has some potential but perhaps his performance would have been more enjoyable with a band behind him (and preferably not a screamo band).

After hearing The Mynabirds debut album, What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood, which deservingly received an 8.0 on 10 on Pitchfork, I was extremely excited to see this band perform live. After seeing them play live I can safely say that their album doesn't do them justice. While the album is a really great listen, lead Mynabird Laura Burhenn's voice doesn't come across nearly as strong as it does live. Don't get me wrong, she sounds great on record, but live you can really hear just how amazing this gal's voice truly is. The crowd remained really quiet throughout the performance, leading Burhenn to comment on how silent everyone was but I credit the silence to the fact that people were listening intently rather than disinterestedly chatting away while the band plays in the background. And I think if there were people that perhaps weren't paying attention, that changed the second Burhenn started to sing. "Let The Record Go" and the album's first single "Numbers Don't Lie" were the obvious highlights but the entire set was great from start to finish and I knew it was going to be tough for the night's headliner, ex-Pedro The Lion front man, David Bazan to top this excellent performance.

So with his work cut out for him David Bazan took the stage with his newly formed band and went right into some 90s inspired rock songs carefully crafted by Bazan himself. The volume was turned up to an almost overly loud level for their set and Bazan's gruff voice could probably be heard by Little Italy residents down the block. Once my ears adjusted to the volume (leading to the ringing I'm still hearing today) I got to fully enjoy the songs put forth by Bazan and band. While Bazan's vocals were obviously most prominently featured I found that the nicest moments of this set came when Bazan's two flanking band mates would sing as well; their three voices coming together to create some pretty lovely harmonies as were displayed on perhaps the band's catchiest tune, "Bless This Mess". In the end Bazan and his band did better than I expected at matching the Mynabirds who had killed before them but after the show the only thing I couldn't get out of my head (besides the ringing) was Laura Burhenn's incredible voice.


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