Tempo No Tempo – “Kilometer”

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With opening sets by Man/Miracle and Maus Haus, and Tempo No Tempo closing out the night, the Rickshaw Stop presented an excellent cross-section of the Bay Area’s envelope-pushing indie rock scene last Thursday night.

Man/Miracle are running on the recent release of their first full length, The Shape of Things. The album seems to be a study of tension: guitar riffs linger just between aggressive and complacent, and songs start with plenty of structure and moderate tempos only to build speed and rattle themselves loose. Their set was no different. Over their 30 minutes, Man/Miracle built up to a frenzy on “Hot Sprawl” and “You’ve Got A Hold On Me.” Denouement was provided by their rather quiet rendition of the eerily titled “Ghost Tongue.”

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Having not seen Maus Haus since the flurry of shows they played back in February, I was anticipating some new tunes. The guys (all six of them!) more than fulfilled my hopes, with a set that was more than half new tracks. I’ve never seen anyone play the trumpet as gleefully as Aaron, who bobbed up and down for much of their feisty rendition of “Irregular Hearts.” The crowd was clearly glad to have them back. Uptempo “Reaction” whipped most of the first 3 rows into a frenzied but good natured dance party!

Tempo No Tempo seemed jubilant over the release of their first full length. The album, with lyrics expressing a pressing desperation and guitars that never fail to shred, was self-released on October 20th, and it’s every bit as raw as their live set. Tyler often doubled over from the force of his yelps and chants during cuts like “Kilometer” and “Kindercare.” The trio’s set was also punctuated with Tyler’s lively stage banter – which I’m personally a huge fan of, stage banter just makes musicians seem more real, right? – as he urged audience members to “get really excited. Get ugly excited!” The crowd needed little encouragement.