The Dodos are a drum band. It’s hard to think of a touring group (besides, say, Boredoms) that relies more on percussion, surely denoted by plenty of writers who might more vaguely employ “rhythmic.” No, it’s the drums and the drummer, Logan Kroeber, shining here. The Bay Area’s earlier work is more jangly and stilted, an early run-through of “Black Night” from 2008’s stellar “Visiter” exemplary.
Its material has smoothed out, elongated and become more nuanced as of late. Last night at the Bluebird, frontman Meric Long’s vocals sailed on calm tides like “When Will You Go?” from this year’s breezy “No Color.” “The Season” from “Visiter” was especially epic and “Fools” from the same record jumpy and poppy. The Dodos have surely matured, but their more uneven material still works better, an almost wistful reminder of the Siren Festival on Coney Island in 2008 — Kroeber banging a trash can like his life depended on it.
The openers, Gauntlet Hair, are something of a Denver phenomenon. Local boys make good, heading out with the Dodos for a few weeks to traverse the country. The duo of Andy R. and Craig Nice have added a couple of dudes for its live performances and punctuated songs like “Our Scenery” and “I Was Thinking…” resonated. As reported on Reverb several months back, Gauntlet Hair has recently signed to Dead Oceans for its first full-length and, after this tour, will probably not be a Colorado-centric psych-rock secret any longer. The band is still working on some kinks — Gauntlet Hair had to restart one tune and took long breaks between songs — but singing nearly inaudible, processed lyrics, a thought came to mind: It wasn’t if this was the most promising collective in town or even the most exciting. The question became, is this the best band in Denver, Colorado?