This was the craziest, most enthralling show I've
been to in a long time. First, the odd pairing of
both Mia Doi Todd and Dungen, complete
musical opposites, couldn't have been better. They
were both so able to capture their audience in captivation,
it was incredible.
Mia Doi Todd, the quiet and shy woman, was
able to hold the attention of the entire bar with
her spellbinding voice and subtle acoustic guitar.
If Mia Doi Todd was a drug, everybody would
be addicted to her. Her voice was mesmerizing, asking
for your attention so strongly while you're completely
willing to give it anyway. She seemed shy in between
songs - she would actually speak away from the microphone
in an almost timid way. I was 15 feet from her and
I had trouble hearing what she said. But then she
would start a song, and her voice would be completely
strong and hypnotizing like a siren.
And Dungen. Sweaty rock heroes caught in a
time warp between the psychedelic sixties and the
indie rock two thousands. They can move so seamlessly
betweeen indie rock and being an almost psychedelic
JAM band - using feedback as instrument and harmonizing
the keyboard with the feedback coming from the guitar
amp - that you would swear they are hippies posing
as indie rock heroes posing as hippies. And the way
they are completely unabashed about the pairing of
the two polar opposite genres makes them seem just
that much cooler. The crazy freneticism of their sound
can oscillate betweeen sweaty guitar riffs to pastoral
psychedelia from the Swedish countryside - and they
make it fit together so well it makes you wonder why
no one has done it this way before.
Dungen moves between some psychedelic pathology
where you expect David Gilmour of Pink Floyd to emerge
onstage - fresh from the recording of Live At Pompeii,
all full of dirt from playing lap steel slide guitar
in the Roman Coliseum. But Dungen plays a form
of indie rock as well, so you have to expect them
to have a sort of edginess and hipness, and the band
seems to exude that inbetween songs without even trying.
When the band announced the next song would be their
last song, it was met with disapproval, to which singer
Gustav Ejstes said "but it might be a long song."
The indifference and uncertainty being front and central,
and the band was so quipping and non-committal that
it all seemed like a funny joke that no one took seriously
but hoped that they would play for a long time anyway.
It was not in the cards though, as guitarist Reine
Fiske broke a string after 4-5 minutes of sweaty,
blustery, patchouli soaked feedback and chaotic noise,
ripping the broken string off of his guitar and throwing
it down to the ground where it landed within a quarter
inch of falling into an electrical outlet on the stage.
Undeterred, the band soldiered on for another minute
or so, trying to keep on, but the string proved to
be an important one as they could not play on without
it. They ended the song, most in the crowd oblivious
to the fact that the song had been cut short due to
circumstances beyond the band's control. With all
of the markings of a saavy bunch of players, they
played it off without a hitch, and most people didn't
even notice - further proof of the bands competence
and high level of ability. These guys awed and impressed
me more and more with every moment.
Lead singer Gustav Ejstes could move with all of
the crazy ferverence of Joe Cocker in the midst of
a hyperactive loss of control - tambourine in hand,
hips out of control. All the while the music was blowing
me away with its ability to captivate and tap into
my subconscious, and remind me of what it's like to
be lost in a dream while still awake, standing in
a crowd of people, in a club with a live band playing.
The ability to get lost in that is what Dungen
is all about - you escape reality, get swept away
to some pastoral, psychedelic, unbelievably rocking
sense of music in which reality is about fantasy and
fantasy is the norm.
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