Friday, September 7, 2012

Moonface Wows in Spite of Attendance and Sound Woes

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 10:52 AM

A small crowd takes in Moonfaces performance at Flying M Coffeegarage.
  • Catie Young
  • A small crowd takes in Moonface's performance at Flying M Coffeegarage in Nampa on Sept. 5.

Garages have long served as effective practice spaces, but it remains to be seen whether a garage is actually a favorable venue for live music. When paired with a powerful speaker system, metal and concrete don’t provide nearly enough acoustic insulation. And the presence of free earplugs at the door to the Flying M Coffeegarage in Nampa shows no denial of this fact.

At the much-anticipated Moonface show on Sept. 5 at the Flying M Coffeegarage, Albuquerque, N.M.'s Sad Baby Wolf started off the evening with a wimper. Two former members of The Shins, along with three others, serenaded a seated audience. If it had been easier to hear the band’s vocals, more high points might have shown through, but the overwhelming amount of noise produced by the rest of the band’s instrumentation left the crowd wishing the sound technician would turn the whole thing down and wondering if Sad Baby Wolf really needs five members to create its blandly indie sound.

The final song of the less-than-notable set was a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's “Everything Is,” which broke the unspoken fifth commandment of indie rock: Thou shall not cover Neutral Milk Hotel.

When Moonface and Siinai took the stage, all mediocrity was swiftly forgiven. The crowd gradually crept forward and, though sound issues continued, the volume was no longer offensive. Between songs, members of Siinai spoke to their sound tech in Finnish while a soft-spoken Spencer Krug addressed the crowd: “I bet we sound great out there. … Just kidding.”

But they did. Krug’s forceful, emotive vocals and Siinai’s unfaltering connection and focus created a dense, hypnotic layering of sound with Siinai’s drummer, Risto Joensuu, as a particularly driving force.

More disappointing than any sound issue, though, was the show’s attendance. The space was well populated, but the quality and intensity of the performance from Moonface with Siinai deserved a sardine-packed audience.

“I’m almost positive that Moonface has never played in Nampa,” Krug said.

Play in Boise next time.

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