Philly band Pattern Is Movement served as the opening act for an evening packed with carefully arranged tunes at Webster Hall on Wednesday night. The math rock duo, composed of Andrew Thiboldeaux (vocals/keyboard) and Chris Ward (drums), revealed their perfectionist classical music background through their heavy and complex compositions that put the audience in a soothing trance. The band’s recent transition from five to two members resulted in a more balanced sound with an edge that sets them apart from other acts. Even though math rock is not exactly my cup of tea, the few early spectators seemed both pleased and intrigued by the artistic set.
Up next came Portland’s beloved The Helio Sequence. The last time I saw the duo play live at the Bowery Ballroom I was mesmerized by their capacity to fill every inch of the room with sound. This time however, even though the music was almost hitting you in the face, the set was unfortunately stained by a very noticeable sound issue. “Glad we can all feel that bass,” joked vocalist Brandon Summer. After apologizing for the dreadful sound a second time, he suggested, “You can go talk to the production manager about that.”
In their defense, behind the curtain of noise, you could still hear Summers’ impeccable vocals and Benjamin Weikel’s frenetic drum beats. They successfully overcame the hiccup by playing every single song with astounding passion, ultimately showing the audience a really good time. As Queen would say, the show must go on. Besides, it’s always a pleasure to see good music in the hands of two talented, charismatic and unassuming individuals. At some point, Summers charmingly dedicated a song to a certain “Annie” in the room, and the pair was seen later chatting cozily with some members of the crowd.
By the time Menomena hit the stage, the sound issues had slightly improved, allowing the fellow Portlanders to captivate the eager audience with their array of pleasant chamber-pop songs. The original duo, fronted by Justin Harris (vocals/guitar/saxophone) and Danny Seim (vocals/drums), was joined on stage by a team of three, who aided them with a myriad of instruments. Their set was received with enthusiasm from the crowd, who even laughed at Harris’s slightly mediocre jokes.