by Caroline Harrison
Menomena at Bowery Ballroom, 10/11/2012
Portland duo Menomena played Bowery Ballroom on October 11, touring with Aussies PVT to support their fifth album, Moms, released by Barsuk in mid-September.
PVT (pronounced "pivot") are a trio that combines electropop with glitchy drones to create anachronistic pop songs. I was apprehensive going into PVT's set. Their 2010 effort, Church With No Magic, had a distinct 80s retro-future sound -- think Blade Runner's synth tones. However, their live performance was surprisingly soulful, in part due to the presence of drummer Lawrence Pike. They closed with "Window," a catchy number that got a great response from the crowd.
Menomena's stage set-up can only be described as sprawling. Both Justin Harris and Danny Seim require a number of instruments and elaborate pedal arrangements to play the band's richly layered music. The duo was joined by 3 backing musicians who in turn each required multiple instruments. We got a number of songs off of September's Moms, including "Plumage", "Giftshoppe," and "Heavy Is As Heavy Does," as well as some older favorites. Despite their impressive array of instruments and gadgets, Menomena managed to convey a casual familiarity and proved that they're still a force to be reckoned with, even after the 2011 departure of founding memeber Brent Knopf.
The October 11 show was the first of two New York dates for Menomena, who also blessed Music Hall of Williamsburg the next evening (10/12). More pictures from the Bowery show are below.