Despite my initial misgivings about last night’s show at the Triple Rock—what would have been a sold-out Foster the People concert at First Avenue squeezed into a space a third of the size after the headliners postponed their slot, leaving openers Cults and Reptar with their own show—it turned out to be damn fun. Cults’ performance reinforced my high opinion of the band, despite the fact that the “long hair, we don’t care” members took forever to come onstage; and my former skepticism about Reptar did a total 180. Both bands brought different, complementary high energies to their sets, which made being drunkenly elbowed and stepped on almost worth it.
The first time I heard Reptar’s debut, Oblange Fizz Y’all, I was immediately put off by their spastic mélange of genres (Afrobeat, New Wave, easy listening jazz, you name it) and didn’t bother listening to them further. And, of course, when you judge a book by its cover, you miss out on a great read. Reptar won me over from the beginning, when they came onstage dancing to a cheesy ‘80s riff. They dove right into an impressively coherent set given their music’s number of moving parts. Frontman Graham Ulicny’s totally unself-conscious face yoga as he belted out his Ezra Koenig vocals was also incredibly endearing. Reptar played a lot of new songs, which sounded great live but still needed some work: Ulicny ran offstage in the middle of one to get a different guitar. “Blastoff” and “Natural Bridge” were some of the familiar tunes, the latter riding on a swinging beat much like Cults, who Ulicny promised, “are going to blow your mind.”
They took their sweet time doing it. Even though each member set up his own equipment, which I always respect, a lot of effort went into fiddling with the lights, even though Cults had the same reddish lighting the whole time. But the wait was worth it. As soon as “Abducted” opened with its telltale guitar strums and Follin’s sweet voice, everyone started dancing. It’s hard not to start grinning and bopping along to the opening xylophones of “Never Saw the Point”, a highlight, or “Go Outside”. Live, a hearty kick drum mostly drove Cults’ songs, and an old movie projected behind them seemed to replace the fuzzed-out vocal samples on Cults‘ recorded tracks. Unfortunately, it was difficult to hear Follin’s between-song banter, but her easygoing demeanor made for a good stage presence nonetheless. Since Cults only has the one album, their set was short but sweet, with just “Oh My God” as the encore. Hopefully, the next time Cults comes to town I’ll actually have room to dance a little more.
You Know What I Mean
Walk at Night
Never Saw the Point
Oh My God