Walking into the dark front room of Red 7 Wednesday afternoon, the odd harmonies, curious mixing, and occasional bhangra beats of Toro y Moi filled the space. While esoteric sounds wove themselves together, they were complicated by the addition of a guitar, which Toro y Moi tried to play while still mixing, and which ultimately just created noise.
Hours later at Club DeVille, Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic played a subdued set of dreamily forgettable rock with a sound comparable to San Francisco’s Film School. If their set left something to be desired, Australia’s The Middle East made up for it. A seven-piece band with more instruments than a pawn shop, The Middle East worked banjo, flute, guitars, drums, harmonica, accordion, and mandolin into their mellow sound. At one point the seven members were playing 10 instruments, with one guitarist also playing harmonica, the keyboardist picking up a flute in places, and the accordion player wielding a trumpet and a rain stick. The addition of whistling on the closing song, “Blood,” added in another layer to their already nuanced sound.
If I wandered into Beauty Bar under false pretenses (Sufjan Stevens was not there, it turns out), I stayed only because the eclectic combination of a dude dressed as an MC (hipster glasses, backwards cap, trendy t-shirt, ever-present microphone) and a woman in a Renaissance fair-style dress seemed to have potential. Indianapolis’s Jookabox was happy to rock out in their outfits – the Renaissance fair woman merrily banging the keyboard and a drummer pounding away in the background. While I have no idea what songs like “Glyphin’ Out” are about, they seemed to be having a good time.