Superet With Fell Runner, Dream Machines At The Echoplex, Monday November 27th 2017
Superet has had a very successful residency at the Echo/Echoplex, and it was about time to catch their last one on Monday. After someone had told me, ‘they are like Cage the Elephant!’ the young Los Angeles group (they only formed last year) had certainly awakened my curiosity, and the fact that two other interesting bands were opening was certainly a good reason to go out on a Monday night, after the long Thanksgiving weekend.
Fell Runner did play puzzling and interesting music, with a unique sound and influences coming from everywhere and nowhere, as there is not one unique adjective or word to describe their set. There were plenty of big vocal harmonies, jazz-type instrumental improvisation, abrupt changes, complex harmonic chords, and the result was always surprising, emotive and poignant in the vocals, complex in the virtuosity, and honestly unlike anything I had heard before, although they have cited TuneYards and Dirty Projectors as inspirations. The quarter were sound explorers and if their bright guitar attacks which sometimes could bring Modest Mouse or Vampire Weekend to mind for a few brief seconds, this idea was soon evaporating into surprising polyrhythms and polyphonies. Some songs started with a unique timber, Television-Marquee-Moon-reminiscent, and a way to construct music by layers, oscillating between serenity through peaceful harmonies and tension through West African percussive explosions. The band released their self-titled debut in 2015, they said they were preparing a new album, and one thing is certain, the crowd loved them, asking for more after the last song.
Dream Machines, and I had seen them before, is always a good time, they bring a dance party to their knees in a record time, and they started a mad one inside the Echoplex, just after playing a few of their truly infectious tunes. In a few songs, they can evoke your favorite 70-80’s dance hits with a Queen line here and there splashing on a giant dance-floor. It was raining disco balls during a set in love with the 80s and an omnipresent saxophone by Matt Brown completing Luke Burba’s synth and Travis Bunn’s drums. However the disco dance-floor belonged to Harry May Kline and Molly WK, who shared the vocals and respectively played guitar and cowbell-like percussions. They had some languid numbers with saxo lines working like powerful flashbacks into the 70s, but honestly it was when they did their best interpretations of Talking Heads meets LCD Soundsystem on Prince’s Revolution’s funky dancefloor, that I loved them the best. They were a riot, a dance riot, also covering Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ hit ‘Islands In The Stream’ with the same passion, and ending their set with an explosive electronic dance and some vocals ready to complete with Beck’s best Prince falsetto in ‘Sexx Laws’.
Superet has been playing the entire month of November, and they had attracted a large crowd for their last one,… and why not? The band has the tunes and an elegant frontman, Matt Blitzer, who moves and charms the audience with a sort of Jeff Buckley romantic smile and a charismatic stage presence. Everything I saw, the double keyboards, the wide-screen rocking show, the theatrical presence of their frontman and the electro-rock nature of the music made me see radio-ready signs all over the place, and this is not surprising when you know that their debut self-titled EP, released via Rob The Rich Recordings, was mixed by Dave Fridmann who also worked with Spoon, MGMT and Tame Impala. Matt Blitzer fronts a large band – Alex Fischel is on keyboards, Sam KS on drums, Patrick Kelly on bass and Isaac Tamburino on guitar, keyboards and percussion – with the ease of a future rock star, while singing hook-laden rock songs filled with drama and big music statements. For more than one hour, they were not shy, especially Blitzer, who owned the stage and the crowd, making good use of his glam-rock inspiration by kissing a woman during one of their last songs.
I remember seeing their moniker among the thousands of other ones participating into Echo Park Rising this summer, I missed their performance then, but, after witnessing such swagger and their stadium-ready show, Superet will probably be among the ‘bands most-likely to make it’ on many lists. Without being totally able to understand why, I never really got the Cage the Elephant comparison, but I had the Strokes and Phoenix in my mind a few times, and they also have been compared to the Killers. Not bad! And they closed their set with the Bowie cover, ‘Young Americans’, which was an interesting and bold statement by itself. Superet wants to make history.