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Monday, February 13, 2012

Show Review: DUNES & Neverever @ The Ace Hotel, Palm Springs

Show Review
@ The Ace Hotel: "THE AMIGO ROOM" Palm Springs CA.
February 11th, 2012

  I FINALLY made it to a show at the Ace Hotel's live music venue "THE AMIGO ROOM" eight months after buying a house two blocks away.  It's funny, because proximity to the Ace is one of the attributes I tout to my friends, but I couldn't actually be bothered to go check it out for a show for the better part of a year.

  What got me out to this particular show was a combination of having friends in town and a Facebook recommendation by Sam Time of Family Time Records.  He works in the Palm Springs area.  He tagged me in a Facebook post about the event, and then I told my friends who were in town, and they were like, "Cool."

  THE AMIGO ROOM is an odd little venue with pluses and minuses.  Major pluses are the fact that shows are always free, that the crowd watching is always superior and that you can go outside and hang out on the smoking patio- if you are bored/don't like the band.  Outside, you can barely hear the band.  Minuses are- the great crowd watching makes for an indifferent to shitty crowd for the band playing, the lay out of the Amigo Room means that people are always walking through while the band is playing, and drinks are pretty expensive.

  Originally, I thought  the line up was Neverever, Dunes and Abe Vigoda, but now I realize that Abe Vigoda is playing the second night of a two night package for Dunes- or something- I can't really figure it out.

   I got there at 10 PM, Neverever(FACEBOOK) (TUMBLR)took the stage at 11.  I realize now that I saw them open for Dirty Beaches on April 28th, 2011 at the Echo, but did not mention them in my show review.  Having now seen them live for a second time, I feel safe in observing that my personal enthusiasm for them is limited by the fact that their song writing is too 60s influenced, and when I say 60s influenced, I'm talking about it in the context of the narrow continuum between 60s influenced songwriting vs. c86/shoegaze influenced songwriting that seems to encompass A LOT of bands that I either write about or don't write about and keep up on in my own time.  If actual members or die-hard fans of Neverever are reading this, that is not an insult, simply a personal expression of my own particular taste.

  I'm more inclined to like a clearly shoegazey sounding band then a clearly 60s influenced with a few shoegazy touches, if that makes sense.  I don't think my personal opinion is particularly important for a band with an LP out on Slumberland.  I don't mind their take it slow approach to touring, but not touring becomes an issue at a certain point, and I think the lack of shows outside LA/NYC/SF is probably hurting their over-all  Audience size.

  Headliner DUNES took the stage to a less then appreciative audience- the negative mentioned above in the discussion of the audience really bugged me during this very powerful set.  The story with Dunes is Stephanie Chan:


  Dunes is another LA area band with a take it slow approach to touring that reflects the fact that the band members are college students.  That's not a problem, just a limitation to their audience size.  My personal observation is that with an album coming out in March on PPM, Dunes is a band that is ready for the spot light.  Stephanie Chan was a mesmerizing front woman, the opinion not just of myself, but of my out-of-town guest, who is not someone who looks at Pitchfork every day for his music taste.

  The song writing was different from many recent break-out lady-fronted LA rock bands in that the primary touch stones seem to be DC/Chicago style math rock- the kind of music I personally associate with Dischord Records in the 1990s.  Chan's singing ability and presence mitigate the potential "broishness" of that sound, but I would think from a marketing perspective it would endear her to potential audience members in the mid west and north east.

  The band was well rehearsed, and despite the limited sound system, all the songs were communicated effectively.   I'd like to see Dunes make a touring release around the release of the full-length in March, but I suspect any touring will have to wait until summer vacation in may/june.

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