Thirty minutes before Siberian, the opening act of last night’s show at Crocodile came onstage, it was apparent that this was going to be one crowded, if not completely sold out show. The café was bustling. The line of people waiting to get a drink at the lounge bar stretched beyond the restrooms. Every single table, booth, chair, and stool was claimed. It was difficult to even walk without bumping into someone.
Then again, it’s no surprise, because people were here to see the Portland trio Menomena, a recent addition to the Seattle-based Barsuk Records family, who just released the brilliant, much celebrated Friend and Foe. When Menomena finally hit the stage near midnight, the show had been sold out for almost two hours, so the room was tightly packed and extremely eager.
They opened with “Pelican,” a Friend and Foe track, and for over an hour, flexed their way between F+F and their debut I Am the Fun Blame Monster. Through their enriched multi-instrumental talents, like Brett Knopf, the piano/bell/shaker/guitar player/laptopper who seemed to do everything at once, Menomena proved that they are indeed a really good live band, although their connection with the crowd during the song breaks was minimal. “More banter,” someone shouted halfway through the set.
But when the band was playing, heads were nodding in unison, and lips were singing along. Like any band who’s promoting a new album, the Menomena’s set favored the new songs, but didn’t leave off some older ones like “Strongest Man in the World” and “The Late Great Libido” before closing the night with the grand bid adieu “Rotten Hell.”