Moon Duo

support Fujako
author BV date 22/04/15 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

I vaguely recall seeing Moon Duo on a fairly hot summer night at a small venue in the meatpacking district of Copenhagen two years ago or so and I still remember the wealth of positive surprises the band practically showered me with. At that point I began following the band actively and this yearning for another live show of theirs finally brought me to this previous Wednesday night – entering Stengade, as I have done so many times before, to see a band I rank among the most captivating live bands I’ve experienced in recent years.

All photos courtesy of Stefan thor Straten

Fujako

Upon entering Stengade I found myself in a strangely empty venue. Broadly advertised as having been sold out, I found it strange to see such a dwindling turnout. However, as the support of the night entered the stage I quickly began forming more than a few logical reasons for the dwindling turnout. With a minimalist setup of a mixer, various effects and a laptop, two men under the collective moniker of Fujako entered the stage in a highly anonymous fashion. Proceeding in silence the two men slowly began building up their electronic, highly experimental soundscapes – slowly developing it into a final product which will rank as the weirdest live act I have ever experienced for quite some time. No words uttered, the duo continued to add layer upon layer of strange samples of vocals, snare drums and echoing oscillations to produce a very off-beat take on electronic music and experimental hip hop. Perplexed I found myself looking around the venue to see if I could catch the eye of someone who was able to understand this music – anyone would do. But besides the occasional bop of the head, most members of the now fairly decent sized crowd seemed as dumbfounded as myself. Upon leaving the stage in the same anonymous fashion as they had arrived, Fujako finished their set without having had any considerable impact on me or the other crowd-members – leading me to believe that they have been hugely misplaced as the support of the night, as I believe they would have done considerably better in a setting like the recurring Distortion event in Copenhagen.

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Moon Duo

After the unique experiences provided by the support band, it seemed like a wave of relief washed over the now sizeable crowd at Stengade. Drenched in darkness and only vague stage lighting, Moon Duo entered the stage and immediately took off on their drone-laden kraut-fuzz adventures to great response from the audience. Perpetually driven forward by the freight-train caliber drumming, Ripley Johnson’s adventurous guitar solos and floating riffs rang through the venue in a surprisingly crisp manner. Even the fuzziest guitar escapades were utterly pristine sounding and coupled with the crystalline synth-sounds coming from Sanae Yamada the band created a severely hypnotic and highly addictive live performance which quickly had the majority of the crowd swaying, dancing, cheering and nodding in utter euphoria.

There’s something to be said of a band which, seemingly, avoids the most popular of their material when they play in the live setting. I’m certain that many of the people who were present at Stengade would have liked to hear fantastic cuts like “Animal” from their newest effort, “Shadow of the Sun”, but at the same time their show was simply so captivating that individual tracks had little or no relevance. With that said I still believe my own personal highlight of their set was when they entered the steady, somewhat bluesy groove of “Free the Skull”. Seeming like an endless barrage of riffs, solos and echoing, dreamy vocals, “Free the Skull” in particular summarized everything I love about Moon Duo – which is utterly ironic, considering that “Free the Skull” is, quite possibly, my least favorite track off of their new album. Returning only for one lengthy encore, Moon Duo left Stengade with a crowd yearning for more – just the way a great band usually does and as I found myself riding my bike home from the venue, I concluded that this will most definitely not be the last time I put myself through the hypnotic grooves of their live show.

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