Friday, May 11, 2012 at 10:06 a.m.
Carnivores, the Dewars, Lille
West Palm Beach
May 10, 2012
More fun than: The drive back to Fort Lauderdale.
As the vibrancy of spring gives way to the languid, infernal days of summer in South Florida, last night's outdoor performances by Atlanta-based musicians Carnivores, Lille, and the Dewars at the venerable Respectable Street breathed a welcome flood of May colors into the muggy, waning weeks of one of the finer seasons. Regardless of the lineup, West Palm brings the fun at Respectables. Even on a Thursday, the crowd size was impressive, the DJs seemingly encyclopedic, and the drinks bargain-basement.
Soloist Lille was first up on the back patio stage, a small girl in a pink-polka-dot summer dress playing an electric Fender ukulele heavily treated with ghostly reverb. Her thin fingers picked at the small instrument, and her voice was deliberate, sweet, and haunted. The crowd around the stage watched her set attentively even as tracks from Goldfrapp and Class Actress drifted onto the patio from inside. The self-described purveyor of "pixie music" was hemmed in by pounding beats from the front and a towering FPL substation with its blistering electrical potential at her back.
There was barely time to get a beer before the Dewars took the stage. We love when the sets last less than 25 minutes and the turnaround between each band is under ten. If not for the lack of distortion in their guitars, the Dewars might have been considered punk. Normally a brotherly duo, this time they were a trio with a drummer playing while standing. They layered lyrics that range from hopelessly dissolute to sentimental and thoughtful over an unprocessed electric guitar and melodies that are reminiscent of some socially conscious '60s rock band.
Atlanta's Carnivores closed out the night, the five-piece band clustered tightly beneath the lopsided tent on the patio, occasionally struggling with the small space as they played mere inches from one another. Their raucous sound better identifies with technique rather than any particular genre. Songs are crafted by talented musicians and lyricists who fell in love with the joys of tribal drums, vocal harmony, feedback, reverb, electric pianos of considerable vintage, and the sensitivity of guitar pickups to the human voice at close range.
Carnivores' sound is no more a nod to some earlier genre than it is in step with their contemporaries. When they play tonight at Churchill's in Miami, you'd do well to head across the county line and catch them.
Overheard in the crowd: "Yeah, that's a pretty good firm." (A pair of Polo shirts at a bar on the east end of Clematis.)
Carnivores and Lille perform again tonight at Churchill's, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami, alongside Honey Train, Dyslexic Postcards, the Jellyfish Brothers, and more for the Haochi Waves CD-release party.
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