CANT @ The Buffalo Club – 13/01/12

Idolatry is a funny thing.  I see no benefit from fawning over someone for their abilities; it seems like an irrational waste of energy. However, that did not stop me from beaming like a little schoolgirl on Friday the 13th when Chris Taylor –  one half of the Department of Eagles, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer of Grizzly Bear and now solo artist under the moniker of CANT – just happened to  walk down Elizabeth Street on my way to the gig.
 
The Buffalo Club is an interesting place. As a friend described it, it is like a cubby house that you made as a kid, decided to wrap it in aluminium foil one day then ran up to your mum to say “Look! It’s a spaceship!” It is a fairly cosy place but the seating areas are separated from the stage by dividing walls and metallic sheeting leaving people literally blocked off, with the acts having to perform to a sparse room, receiving half-hearted claps from an inattentive crowd (including myself, ashamedly). However, as soon as CANT got on stage and the synth kicked off “Too Late, Too Far” my friends and I made our way over to the performance area which easily contained the audience. One of the things I pondered about before they began was would the live set be stripped back because of the sheer amount of sounds found throughout the record. They seemed to have resolved the issue in a deceptively simple manner – double the amount of instruments everyone plays. The keyboardist alternating to the synth, the drummer taking up the xylophone, Taylor and the bassist seamlessly swapping guitars every other song as well as dealing with sound pedals were part and parcel for the night. The highlight songs of the evening were “Answer” and “Dreams Come True”; the darker, bass driven tracks enveloped the guys on stage and really got into it, which reflected back onto the audience. Taylor has distinctive movements as he performs, cradling the guitar close to his chest and moving his head back and forth in an avian fashion, so it was not surprising when I caught myself and a few others on the floor emulating the same actions as a sign of how engaged we were. The interesting thing about the track “Dreams Come True” is the discord between the lyrics and the vocals. “Do the right thing / Dreams come true / You’re the right thing / It all comes true.” Sounds very positive, right? Well imagine it being sung in a distorted voice like Frank the rabbit from Donnie Darko. A really odd juxtaposition but it works well, ineffably.

After they said a short farewell and thanking people for coming to see them once again the band left the stage for a little under a minute, having to pass through the crowd to not even make it out of the crush before heading back for a softer song with a slow jam vibe – “Believe” – as their ‘encore’.  The set seemed to be short, but with no fault to the band. Discarding “(brokencollar)” they played the entire album and so it was a bittersweet ending to the night and that feeling lingered with me after the set.

Feeling another bout of elation as the band were off stage and coming my way I became torn between trying to act nonchalant and squealing like a twelve year old at a Justin Bieber concert, so I went in for the congratulatory pat and a “Cheers, man” to Taylor as he shuffled through. Little did I know that later on I would find myself walking to the train station next to the band and trying to start a conversation with “I don’t want to be a stalker fan, but…”

It was right then the downside to fandom was reaffirmed. If you do happen to meet your idol you are more than likely to feel like an absolute twit, rationality is thrown out the window so you have way of knowing if you really were acting like one, then there is a part of you that does not care either way because you are still happy about it. Better to act like an idiot than ignore the opportunity.
 
by Mason Smith

January 17th 2012
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