There is a very certain type of music lover who will be a fan of Here We Go Magic. This person must meet all three of the following conditions: Must love LCD Soundsystem, or an imitation thereof. Must appreciate prolonged jams. Must dig alt-country tunes.
The Bay Area is full of fans of each genre, but judging by crowd reaction at the Brooklyn band’s show at The Independent Tuesday night, mixing all three in a live setting can be a tricky sell.
The venue was largely packed (though not sold out) when the band took to the stage, but reactions were subdued as Here We Go Magic rumbled through an eight-to-10 minute version of “Make Up Your Mind.” This version began as a slow-burn, before morphing into an electronic pop song about six minutes in. Tempos shifted, like rolling waves, and by the time the song picked up pace, the crowd was ready for the next tune.
The next three songs each had diminishing results until the band begun to find its groove halfway through the 75-minute set. Band leader Luke Temple, wearing an Indiana Jones hat and a fleur-de-lis patterned shirt – tucked in – ran through several folk-electronica tunes like “Alone But Moving” (the kind of song to which to stumble home after last call), and the alt-country leaning “Hard to be Close.”
“How Do I Know,” Here We Go Magic’s best-known song to date, was the clear highlight of the set; the other tunes often were muddy, with muffled, overlapping vocals that made lyrics indiscernible. Of course, fans who met all of the aforementioned requirements probably left Tuesday concert very satisfied.
The room was only half-full for show opener Harriet, a Los Angeles quartet, which is a shame. Led by Alex Casnoff (formerly of Dawes), Harriet performed a short set of songs that blended Afropop, breezy blues and some country (when joined by a slide guitarist). If Foster the People were a folk band, or the Cold War Kids turned down their frenzy, they might sound like Harriet. Casnoff’s crystal clear voice went in and out of falsetto, showcasing a nice range to go along with the band’s musical stylings.