February 20, 2007

That Was The Show That Was: Relay, Lymbyc Systym

Relay at TT The Bear's PlaceWe don't think the guys and girl in Philadelphia's Relay will mind too much if we say the quartet is not exactly Van Halen 1.0 on stage. At their gig last night at TT The Bear's Place in Cambridge, Mass. there were no flaming gongs. No flashy guitar solos. Instead band leader Jeff Ziegler and his bandmates delivered focused, economical versions of a number of tracks from Relay's two 2006 Bubble Core Records releases, Type/Void EP and Still Point Of Turning. And while we didn't keep track of the set list, over the course of their half-hour of stage time Relay delivered several cracking versions of songs that have worked their way into our head over the past several months.

None of the small crowd last night seemed disappointed that Relay's particular amalgamation of Krautrock and dream pop doesn't lend itself to flaming gongs and wango tango guitar wankery. The quartet's somewhat icy stage demeanor underscored the atmosphere of many of the songs, and we didn't realize just how much that was so until realizing we were a bit surprised to see Ziegler and band crack into quiet smiles when they had completed the set and were breaking down their gear. Drummer Gerard Angelini has the most extroverted stage presence, and he allowed himself to really attack his drum parts as the set crescendoed. It reminded us of how math rockers A Minor Forest used to situate its drummer at the front of the stage with his back to the audience, and for a moment we considered whether this would work for Relay. Decidedly no, as we think the Relay stage vibe and its music jibe well. Still, those cats in A Minor Forest, at least circa the Inindependence record, were really on to something. As for Relay, its tour continues into early March and wraps up on the 6th in Alabama, at which point the band takes about a week off and then heads to SXSW.

We've read various good things about last night's openers Lymbyc Systym (particularly this item at Bradley's Almanac), but the few songs we heard prior to last night didn't move us. Which is why the electrifying close of the Pheonix, Ariz.-based duo's set floored us. We've always felt that Lymbyc Systym and one-time tourmates Album Leaf's quiet ruminations were virtually indistinguishable, but the cacaphony and clatter of Lymbyc System's finale, all synth feedback and flailing limbs assaulting the drum kit, definitely made a lasting impression on us. One final note: dream poppers Mahogany, who released the very compelling set Connectivity! last fall, canceled their appearance on the bill last night. The very same day we received an email from Mahogany HQ stating the band has just signed on to support some dates on a forthcoming Bloc Party tour of the UK in mid-April.

UPDATE: Here is a small Flickr set from the show for Relay, and another for Lymbyc Systym. Finally, here are some auditory goodies from the Relay catalog, both of which we think we've offered up before, but even so we highly recommend both tunes.

Relay -- "New Domestic Landscape" -- Still Point Of Turning
Relay -- "Context" -- Still Point Of Turning
[right click and save as]

[buy Still Point Of Turning from Newbury Comics here]

Relay: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

02/21 -- Burlington, VT -- Higher Ground
02/22 -- Buffalo, NY -- Big Orbit's Soundlab
02/23 -- Southgate, MI -- The Modern Exchange
02/24 -- Champaign, IL -- Mike 'N' Molly's
02/25 -- Chicago, IL -- The Empty Bottle
02/26 -- Columbus, OH -- Andyman's Treehouse
02/28 -- Washington, DC -- Warehouse Next Door
03/01 -- Baltimore, MD -- Lo-Fi Social Club
03/02 -- Norfold, VA -- The Boot
03/04 -- Boca Raton, FL -- Dubliner
03/05 -- Tampa, FL -- New World Brewery
03/06 -- Birmingham, AL -- Bottletree
03/15 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW Showcase At The Taproom
03/16 -- Austin, TX -- Lovejoys
03/17 -- Austin, TX --SXSW Move To Philly Showcase

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