When BW spoke to El Ten Eleven bass player Kristian Dunn before the band’s Nov. 12 set at Neurolux, he said part of what makes the duo's performances worthwhile is the potential to screw them up.
“What we do, there's that tight-rope walker aspect of it,” he said. “We can screw up. And we do.”
Last night, about halfway through the band's set, Dunn made good on his promise.
“This deserves an explanation,” he said after stopping mid-song to give it another shot. “Everything you see up here is being done live. We don’t use any laptops.”
The audience cheered big at that line.
“The result of that is that occasionally I fuck up a loop. But we’re going to get it right, because Boise deserves for it to be right," he said, and the crowd cheered even louder.
Then the band nailed the song.
But to be fair, it’s amazing El Ten Eleven doesn’t screw up more. Dunn’s bass lines can run 10 layers or more, with harmonies layered on noises, layered on rhythms, frosted with melodies. He runs three separate looping pedals and a half dozen effects, all while finger-tapping a double-neck in 7/4 time.
Then there’s drummer Tim Fogarty, who ties all that together masterfully and makes live loops of his own using electronic drum elements. That the band ever manages to make it through a song without an error is flabbergasting.
And when you add in that the duo was running on three hours sleep, didn’t have time for a sound check because of delays driving from Missoula—which also meant it didn’t have time to set up its light show—that mistake was almost charming.
The audience certainly seemed to think so, dancing and cheering.
“I want to have your baby!” one girl yelled out.
“My wife already has it,” Dunn responded, before blasting out another tune, which he also screwed up a bit.
“I’d like to blame that shitty loop on Missoula, because it’s the poor carpenter that blames his tools,” he said. “Sorry, that may have gone right over your heads."
If it did, no one cared. Dunn was held hostage after the show answering different versions of the same question: “How the fuck did you do that?” And no one mentioned the mistakes.
For a slideshow of the show, click here.