I rarely go to the Star Bar anymore, so why is it that every time i have been there this year i have seen Tenth to the Moon? Is it their home club or something? When i had heard that Tenth to the Moon were opening for Parts & Labor, i thought that this was a good lineup. Both bands are kind of noisy, with intense rhythms and deep grooves. Parts & Labor are more poppy, and yet their electronics are more out there. With Tenth to the Moon, Doug Hughes plays a relatively normal keyboard part, while Foy's vocals and performance are all over the place. The two bands balance each other well.
Mitch Foy now has a TTTM logo jacket! Awesome!
Tenth to the Moon started at 10:30, and seem to finally have a stable lineup. That is to say, for this performance, permanent TTTMers Mitch Foy and Doug Hughes were joined by the same drummer, bassist, guitarist, and female vocalist as they were at their album release show back in August. That is unusual for them. Normally Foy and Hughes are the only constants in the band. Not that this is a bad thing. Far from it -- the band seems to have gotten tighter.
Tenth to the Moon in action.
Tonight they opened with a nice long, distorted rendition of Nails and Females. The band really seemed to be riffing there, and the female vocalist wandered off into the crowd after her part of the show was done.
I thought they sounded great tonight, including a thunderous version of Coming to Call, with Foy chanting about sleep over a furious racket from the rhythm section. Maybe it is just because i have been listening to the first Killing Joke record a lot lately, but i thought that Tenth to the Moon hit a Requiem-like vibe in this song, which went on and on, with Foy pounding the tar out of his two drums while the rest of the band sawed away at it. Very intense.
They ended with something different, the four members putting down their instruments and walking out into the crowd while chanting and clapping. I liked that bit in that it really confused the crowd. You just never can predict what Tenth to the Moon are going to do. Thank goodness for that.
They played a half hour set, but it took another half-hour for them to gear out and for Parts & Labor to set up. I think it took so long because vocalist/keyboardist Dan Friel of Parts & Labor has a really complicated setup. He had a table with a selection of pedals and electronic noise modifying doodads on it, and he tweaked and played with the wiring for a long time before he was ready to perform. Friel could learn a thing or two from Doug Hughes, who has honed and simplified his setup over the years.
Dan Friel's too complex setup.
So at 11:30 Parts & Labor started their set with the epic Fractured Skies, off of 2007's Mapmaker. It is an epic tune that builds to great heights with Friel and bassist BJ Warshaw singing in harmonies that spiral ever upwards, to explode in a cacophony of drums, guitars, and keyboardy noise. This tune has become a personal favorite, and they played it remarkably well tonight, really getting the crowd going.
The other winner in tonight's set was Satellites, off their latest record. This song sounds like some 1960s pop tune, with Friel's light voice singing lead in a lilting fashion, and yet the whole thing is layered with a breakneck bass riff, and some nice guitar squealing. If this is what the new album sounds like, then i am really looking forward to absorbing the copy i picked up at the show.
BJ Warshaw in kneeling, singing action.
Parts & Labor played about 35 minutes of poppy music with nice harmonies, furious rhythms, and occasional noisy outbursts. It was a really fun set.
However, by the time they were done it was after midnight, and i was wiped after a long day. I decided to forgo seeing headliners Talking Heads -- i mean, The Selmanaires. I decided to skip The Selmanaires and instead get a good night's sleep. The fact that i had seen two great sets that could hardly be topped made it so that i did not regret leaving early.