Lodge Room Highland Park

Panda Bear Concert at Lodge Room Highland Park

Founding member of Animal Collective Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) brought their sixth album, Buoys, to the Lodge Room Highland Park Tuesday evening. Animated by their ongoing interest in contemporary music production techniques, it retains a deep layer of experimentation coursing through its hyper-modern production – a hallmark of Panda Bear releases that will feel intimately familiar to fans of Lennox’s decade-plus body of work.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through them big.

Deerhunter Concert at Lodge Room Highland Park

Atlanta’s Deerhunter stopped by Lodge Room Highland Park Thursday night to celebrate their eighth LP Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? to be release the following day. The sold out crowd was calm, yet enthusiastic; the maturity fitting of a band that’s been around for 18 years. The merch table was remarkably empty. A hand-written note informed shoppers autographed vinyl was available for $30 (although, I think the guy in the front row with an entire tote bag of unopened records he brought to be signed had a little more in mind).

Keyboardist Javier Morales held an old school radio to the mic scanning through miscellaneous stations adding atmosphere to the shadowy stage before the others entered and they launched into “Lake Somerset” off 2007’s Cryptograms. In the time since Cryptograms, the genre-bending indie rockers have settled into a palatable pop sound, which serves as a stark contrast to the subject matter of the newest album. The next song in the set was Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?’s opening track and first single “Death in Midsummer”. It rallies a cry for blue collar workers laboring until they die. This tone of criticism for the state of the union continues through the LP. The press release for the album says, “Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? forgets the questions and makes up unrelated answers…It comes home, restructures itself and goes back to bed to avoid the bad news.” And wouldn’t we like to do the same these days.

Earlier in the month, Deerhunter dropped “Plains,” the third single off the forthcoming album. The fleeting song is inspired by the similarly fleeting James Dean who spent the last summer of his life filming "Giant" in Marfa, Texas in 1955. As someone that’s spent time in Marfa, I can attest that the lyrics regarding the incessant trains passing through the city are accurate. Undoubtedly, Deerhunter founder Bradford Cox has experienced similar not only during his residency at 2018’s Marfa Myths festival, but also during the recording of the new album which also took place in the charming desert town. “Plains” was nestled into the middle of the set alongside classics like “Helicopter” and “Desire Lines”.

On the whole, Deerhunter’s set was roughly 50% new material with strategically placed crowd favorites off older albums. “Agoraphobia” and “He Would Have Laughed” ended the evening on a familiar high note for everyone in the crowd.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through them big.

Black Moth Super Rainbow Concert at Lodge Room Highland Park

Black Moth Super Rainbow made a second appearance at Lodge Room Highland Park Saturday night after selling out their Friday show. Supporting their May release, Panic Blooms, the Pennsylvanian act - singer Tobacco, synth players The Seven Fields of Aphelion and Pony Diver, bassist Steve SLV, and drummer Iffernaut - drew a crowd as eclectic as their names. There was even a young child sleeping along the wall.

BMSR sounds like listening to psychedelic electronic music under water. Their unique lo-fi sound conjures images of refracted sunshine dancing on skin below the surface of a swimming pool. This is largely due to frontman Tobacco (also known for his solo work) exclusively singing through a vocoder. But beneath this veil of summertime simplicity lies something darker. As with much of the best pop music, BMSR juxtaposes radiant and joyful melodies with dismal lyrics. The first true LP since 2012’s Cobra Juicy, Panic Blooms, continues this trend in their work. In fact, a press release announcing the album described it as an “f-ed up and bleeding account of depression and the shadow side of human frailty.”

And live in the shadows they did. Sandwiched between two layers of projection screens and shrouded in near total darkness, the musicians sole purpose was scoring the visuals. The drummer wore a ski mask; nobody ever addressed the crowd. It was purely music and the weird, projected world we lived within for the duration of the set. From video of an endoscopy and rotting teeth to more calming shots of the woods (until what appeared to be an anthropomorphic owl crossed towards the camera), attendees were forced to take in the visuals by Kevin Jackson. I doubt anyone minded.

Shot for Grimy Goods. Click the photos to scroll through them big.

Khruangbin Concert at Lodge Room Highland Park

Third times the charm. Third time shooting Khruangbin, and on the first of their three night stay in Los Angeles on the Con Todo El Mundo Tour. And those three nights? All sold out.

Never have I seen Khruangbin perform such a flawless set. From the sheer joy they exuded as the played, to the stellar West Coast hip hop tribute that flowed from one hit to the next, to the crushingly beautiful ballad played to a near silent audience with DJ turning from his drum kit to a piano. To Laura admitting the first time she spoke on stage was in Los Angeles - a moment that catalyzed forming Khruangbin - before playing Friday Morning. I wasn't crying, you were crying.

Click and scroll through the images to see 'em big. Thank you, Khruangbin, for having me out time and time again.