El Ten Eleven @ Bowery Ballroom, 10/23/12
El Ten Eleven is an instrumental rock duo that shows the limits of what two people are capable of. The trick to their complicated guitar sound comes from the massive array of pedals guitarist Kristian Dunn uses. Watching them live, it’s hard to draw your eyes away from him as he performs and loops complicated string arrangements. Tim Fogarty and his furious drumming comprise the other half of the band.
This tour is in support of their latest LP, Transitions, bringing their total to five albums now. The discography blends together to my ears, with their sound vaguely reminiscent of an instrumental Pinback. It’s great music for chilling out to. While performing on stage, and with the aid of a neat light show, the audience was held in thrall, even at the most active points.
The billing tonight struck me as clashing. Two electronic acts opened, both on the dance side of things. Once El Ten Eleven took the stage, most of that gave way as a different crowd took form and the raver types scattered. The first opener was Beacon, two guys on synths who specialize in downtempo beats. Live they weren’t very entertaining, but their studio stuff has definite potential. They still need to work hard to distinguish themselves from the pack if they want to break through.
The other support was Michna, who was definitely the more compelling act for getting some grooves going. A beats-spinning DJ, he played a combo of hip-hop inspired original music and remixes. He definitely seems more in place at a club rather than Bowery Ballroom on a Tuesday. I did quite like his odd gimmick of two giant inflatable spheres that held projected visuals within. He released a new EP this year, entitled Moving Mountains.