Silian Rail is an Oakland two-piece, playing instrumental post rock. A guitar surgically attached to a mound of pedals, and a stack of drums. Eric, the drummer, was able to play both guitar and drums at once, pretty impressive, and even more impressive – he also played a foot bass controller (think oversized pedals that make up an octave on a piano that you can play with your foot, and in his case your bare foot).
Though it was often dreamy, they were able to keep the audience awake with elaborate drumming, and a good amount of riffage. At one point near the end of the set Robin, the guitarist, dropped some bar chords in between her normal effervescent notes. I thought Ozzy was going to come out and bite the head off of a bat.
The music was complicated, but not a challenge. No grease can needed, for the machine is well oiled.
Buke and Gass, though also a two-piece, were different than their predecessors. Their songs shorter, their sound poppier, but just as complicated. They hail from a little known town in New York called Brooklyn. Though they are from Brooklyn they brought none of the pretenses Brooklyn is often unfairly saddled with. The frontwoman, Arone, was downright smiley.
Arone on vocals and guitar, also with a bed of pedals laid out before her, which she used skillfully and with imperception. Similarly-named Aron played guitar and a kickdrum which incubated a small infestation of tambourines. This cleverly padded the sound, making you forget they were minus a dedicated drummer.
The arrangement went beyond what you imagine a two-piece could do. I was often mystified by where sounds originated. Their song structure was distinguishable and nimble. Their music was fresh and belonged to no easy genre.
The eveningâ€™s headliners were far from home, but you would never know it. It felt like a homecoming. Efterklang is a powerful force, which makes their union with the audience a great feat. They play with such joy and have a gift for connection. What they give to you is a rare feeling.
They easily fit their 7 band members on stage, often swapping duties or putting instruments down to help drum. Even as a septet the depth of their sound is astounding. Theyâ€™re rattlingly percussive, making good use of their surroundings by pounding away on the pipes that outline the low ceiling above the stage.
Last time they played the Bottom of the Hill there was a scant smattering of old material; this time they nearly tripled the amount. Everything they played with repose, as the new album is no longer so new.
Maybe itâ€™s the weather in Denmark right now, or possibly Danes are just a cheery folk, but you couldnâ€™t pry the smiles off their faces. It was infectious. Their performance was nothing if not staggering. After they were through, the crowd filtered out with a buzz. I was left feeling like I could float off like a balloon.
Bottom of the Hill, Monday (9 PM, $12)