Monday, July 12, 2010
You Missed Out: Caribou
A conversation amongst three friends on the Millennium Park lawn, two of whom are attempting to explain Caribou to a person who's about to hear them for the first time at the Pritzker Pavilion:
"What's Caribou sound like anyway?"
"Well, I guess they're pretty dancy."
"Oh I wouldn't call them dancy. They're... different."
If you were at the show tonight, you probably witnessed the most dancing in public since... actually, I'm not sure if I've ever seen more dancing come to think of it. Everybody was up on their feet for this one.
But, that doesn't necessarily mean that Caribou is dancy. Their music isn't even close to Daft Punk or four on the floor nightclub bumping. I can rarely tell what instruments are even being played. It's "indie" music through and through. But the sort of indie that encourages listeners to drop their guards and just shake their asses around. While getting high. Of course, weed is prevalent.
Psychedelic beats echo and reverberate off the Chicago skyline, landing on youthful ears. Somehow, it causes bodies to move around.
I know comparisons to the Beach Boys are beyond tired in regards to modern indie rock (Panda Bear, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, etc.), but if I had to pick an artist who is closest to the Beach Boys of 2010, I'm voting Caribou. Remember when surf rock first hit the beach party stereos? Of course we don't, we weren't alive. But, it was a weird and wavy sound that made kids want to dance. They hadn't heard anything quite like it before, but that's exactly what affected them about the style.
This is sort of what Caribou is doing today. The music doesn't sound quite like anything we'd expect to hear at a dance party. It's not straightforward. It's not even close to hip hop. Caribou just taps into a new feeling of instrumental elation. Music lovers get into this sound not because it's dancy or different, but because it's such a perplexing combination of both.
Generally, dance floors get crowded when the familiar song comes on. If the DJ plays something unfamiliar, the masses become less interested and head to the bar for a refill. But if this show tonight was any indication, this next generation of music fans wants to hear something unpredictable. Even better, they want to dance to something they've never heard before.
So no, Caribou is not "dancy" in the traditional sense. However, it's gonna get kids on their feet in spite of a cacophony of unorthodox sounds and beats.
You missed out if you weren't there tonight. More than any other band I've seen live, Caribou's show is remarkably better than the recorded material. I suppose a part of that may be due to the fact that when I listen to Caribou by myself at my desk, hundreds of people around me aren't going to start moving to the music. Though I may get up when Bowls comes on, even if I am by myself...