Braids | 10.06.11

The artists tended to their equipment with precision and accuracy as each song blended into the last.

 

 

Pushing sound to its limits with technical precision, Braids visited the Firebird on October 6 to fulfill their promise to St. Louis fans after being snowed out of their February 1 show at the Old Rock House earlier this year.
 
Known for their musical intricacies, there was no surprise when Braids needed a bit of special attention during soundcheck. Lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston directed the Firebird sound engineer like a true perfectionist. She gave technical instructions designated to particular songs, leaving the crowd anticipating greatness. And this Canadian quartet brought it. Braids’ experimental avant-pop entwined with Standell-Preston’s chilling, Bjork-like vocals made for a unnerving soundscape blurring the natural and the machine.
 
The complex, rumbling percussion and wafting loop progression had the power to leave the audiences lost in translation. The sea of petals and drones created a wave of elegantly layered noise that sounded so transcendental, it was hard to believe it was coming from a series of machines.
 
The tranquil music backdrop and Standell-Preston’s seductive siren bounced off the Firebird’s walls, making even the repetitive “Oh, I’m fucked up” from the song “Glass Deers” sound divine. This show was more than a concert; its careful balance of detail was that of an orchestrated performance. The artists tended to their equipment with precision and accuracy as each song blended into the last. “Same Mum” was the exception. A fellow in the crowd would not give up on his song request as Braids obliged, but “it [had] been awhile” and “may sound like it.” Braids carried on playing the song as if they had practiced the crowd favorite earlier that night.
 
With Braids only having one album and a handful of songs, the set ended too soon. However, the focus the band had to endure to punctually hit and blend each sound must have been exhausting. This goes without mentioning the sound guy; the drawn-out soundcheck was worth the wait and short set. Everything sounded near perfect, and that’s hard to achieve when your music is warping and bending mechanical sounds to new limits. | Kelly Glueck 

 

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