booksbutton.jpg
Click the photo for a slideshow of the set. All photos by Renee McMahon.

The Books, Todd Reynolds
When: April 26
Where: Neumo's 

There weren’t


"/>

Last Night: The Books and Todd Reynolds at Neumos

An A/V geek's dream come true.

booksbutton.jpg
Click the photo for a slideshow of the set. All photos by Renee McMahon.

The Books, Todd Reynolds
When: April 26
Where: Neumo's 

There weren’t any pocket protectors or taped-up eyeglasses spotted on anyone in the packed house at Neumos last night, but The Books and Todd Reynolds definitively and exuberantly championed an A/V club member’s dream come true with conceptual, highbrow, synesthetic multimedia performances – where the music cohesively intermingled with stimulating visual media. A collaged musical kaleidoscope, if you will.

Reynolds warmed up the audience with his very welcoming and personable stage presence, and played a series of dramatic and airy violin compositions that were looped through his laptop and built into thick, moving crescendos, sometimes so large, that a few random, bass-heavy moments resonated throughout the entire room. On the screen, Reynolds music accompanied visual art pieces by Luc DuBois, whose work was a geometric mess of colorful boxes, lines and squares, and Bill Morrison, who works with decaying, primordial video. For the song “Outerburrough,” Reynolds used one of Morrison’s works filmed from a subway train crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in 1899, which was looped and spliced together, creating something immediate and engaging, holding the attention of the silenced, bug-eyed crowd.

The Books opened their set with “All A’s,” a new song about the alphabet comprised of twenty-six unique musical bridges. Guitarist/vocalist Nick Zammuto said he wrote it for his eight-month old son, that unfortunately “completely terrifies him.” I think I know why. The screen displayed something akin to a Sesame Street alphabet lesson on acid – each individual letter swirled around, multiplied and changed color, with random numbers and words (not letters) from found sound triggering next letter in line to appear and the musical structure to change as well.

They quickly broke into familiar material, like “An Owl With Knees,” and “If Not Now, Whenever” two songs off their last record Lost and Safe. The accompanying video to “An Owl With Knees” showed random species of wildlife and natural settings that contrastingly built up to urban footage, while “If Not Now, Whenever” compiled a grainy footage of an old lady making cassette tapes, an old couple giving a speech, a guy competing at a track meet, and fish, among other things. How everything was edited, looped, and rewound caused laughter throughout the audience on many occasions.

Subtlety works wonders with The Books. Their spare instrumental pieces properly injected with interchanging sound bites and video at all the right moments. And it obviously had the whole crowd enamored.

Later on, they played something they called “An Ode to Penguins” which showed home videos of Zammuto and cellist Paul de Jong as children. Seeing these two in the prime of their innocence was absolutely touching, and it nearly brought me to tears.

While much of the set culled songs primarily from Lost and Safe, including the moving “It Never Changes to Stop,” “Be Good To Them Always,” and “Smells Like Content” they closed the set with “Take Time,” and “That Right Ain’t Shit” off The Lemon of Pink. The former song showed all sorts of carefully devised All-American footage, including Pentecostal church members, old people playing games, and watermelon eating contests, while the latter showed 1940s black and white footage of balding men removing their hats. After nearly an hour and a half, the room wanted more. Tthe pair returned with Reynolds for an encore and played “The Future.” It was an absolutely perfect ending to an absolutely perfect show. Words can’t describe how beautiful and engaging the entire night was. You had to see and experience it for yourself.

 
comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow