The Dodos

Their endless intricate flights of psych-folk fancy proving both hypnotic and visually arresting. King Tut's Wah Hut, Glasgow (September 3).

Pic: Drew Farrell
Our patience finally snapped like a frostbitten twig around the time tonight’s encore hit the seven-minute mark. Until that point The Dodos had held our attention admirably. Their endlessly intricate flights of psych-folk fancy proving both hypnotic and visually arresting, especially for three ordinary-looking blokes playing music reminiscent of Wilco’s ‘Summerteeth’ album being appropriated by The Violent Femmes. To watch them in full rhythmic flow is akin to watching the inner workings of a cuckoo clock sped up to comical, Chaplin-esque speed – and it’s mightily impressive. Until the threshold of just-too-muchery is breached, at any rate.

Frontman Meric Long tonight describes The Dodos as being “from yonder”. This isn’t technically true – they’re from San Francisco – but they may as well be from outer space. They make psychedelic folk music that is truly psychedelic – meaning they’re not afraid to hold the same note for two long minutes, while Logan Kroeber’s drumming throbs like a hummingbird’s heart as it approaches climax and percussionist Joe Haener begins gleefully thumping a battered trashcan. It’s also frequently beautiful, as on the chiming melody of ‘Fools’ or the astounding string-picking of ‘Jodi’, a song that jumps around so quickly it makes the life-cycle of a greenfly seem wastefully extravagant. And to be honest, it’s all mostly brilliant: the audience is so enraptured that Long isn’t allowed to leave the stage before being dragged back for an encore.

OK, so sometimes it gets a little excessive. Well, a lot excessive. But for the most part, The Dodos are a fascinating live experience. We could compare it to the species they took their name from and say they don’t make ’em like this anymore. But we’re not sure anybody ever did.

Barry Nicolson

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