Ramona Falls @ Maxwells, 2/7/12
Brent Knopf’s project Ramona Falls has been a whispered name in the indie rock space for a few years now, after its lauded debut with Intuit. 2011 saw Ramona become a full time project of his, following his departure from Menomena. Last year, Prophet was released as its sophomore effort, giving the live show a more electric influence. This, along with the subject material, excels at creating some dark atmospheres for listeners.
Live, Brent handles guitar and keys while backed by drums, violin, and bass. Though the music falls on the moodier spectrum, the members of Ramona Falls lack no energy. Their drummer is a busy man, to say the least, with some furious arrangements that really stood out on stage. Their violinist’s penchant for plucking strings definitely gives her a lead role at points, an exciting departure from the norm. The show also included a cover of Menomena’s “Wet and Rusting,” and closed with a solo effort of his.
[The Explorers Club]
The existence of Ramona Falls seems to remain a well kept secret for now, as their audience at Maxwells totaled a paltry 40 or 50 people. In attendance, they were overshadowed by The Explorers Club, who played before them. It was my first time hearing of them, and I quickly understood their appeal. Crowding the Maxwells stage with a fellowship of nine, and featuring an ensemble voice cast, they played a brand of retro power pop that is infectiously catchy. Their latest release is last year’s Grand Hotel, which I’ve already gotten my hands on.