menomenaeasystreet1.jpg
All Photos By Laura Musselman
Menomena played an in-store set at Queen Anne's Easy Street Records on Wednesday, July 28.
Menomena

Easy Street Records, Queen

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Menomena Re-Imagines Their Latest, Mines, For the Small Stage Last Night at Easy Street

menomenaeasystreet1.jpg
All Photos By Laura Musselman
Menomena played an in-store set at Queen Anne's Easy Street Records on Wednesday, July 28.
Menomena

Easy Street Records, Queen Anne

Wednesday, July 28

When the garage door goes up in the back of Easy Street, there's almost a strange drama about it. Until that moment, the sound check booms into the store through the speakers, the voices' sources mysteriously disembodied. Then the door finally rises like a clankety industrial curtain, revealing a black shadowbox of a stage with the effect of a very large puppet show or a diorama coming to life.

As such, the space gives off this uniquely theatrical feel (in a quirky, plebeian sort of way), apt for a band as complicated and moody as Menomena. When they play, they look like they're thinking--mouths hanging open, heads kind of atilt. In between songs, they're quippy, dropping bad puns about how many songs they have "in store" for the crowd (cue over-eager smile) and remarking on how long it took to finally put out another record (we were all thinking it).

But musically, it's a wonder how a band can translate songs with such dense programming and such busy arrangements into a three-man live set. Well, four-man. They can't quite humanize the Deeler, the custom Digital Looping Recorder software they've jokingly called their fourth member. Instead, they've been touring with an actual fourth member, Joe Haege of 31Knots.

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Ahhhh, mischief.
After such a lengthy, perfectionistic recording process, it'd be a shame to reduce any of the songs for their live performances. Even in a short set, the band boasted intensity and breadth, with their choices ("Queen Black Acid," "Killemall," "Five Little Rooms" and "Taos," in that order) running across the dramatic range of their new album, Mines. But as they jerked from pensive to playful to haunting to violent (and in true Menomena fashion, often all in one song) they proved the cohesiveness of their new album and their sound, even with an additional member onstage. Haege mostly hung back and held up the guitar lines, but it's proof the band doesn't want their three-and-a-half years of work altered and messed with.

Personal Bias: I'd probably listened to Mines more than most of the crowd, and it's my new Menomena favorite.

The Crowd: Before they took the stage, the employee introducing them asked who'd listened to Mines: quiet. He asked who didn't have the record yet: also quiet. During the set, most folks looked more studious than anything.

Random Notebook Dump: On the other hand, on the way out, I witnessed two fans high-five and thought I heard someone else cheer, "To Menomena!" Is this an in-store or a kegger?

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Kicking back before the show.
 
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