Minneapolis lifers Tapes ‘n Tapes played a series of loud, jammy tunes that often featured extended sessions where the members were completely in sync with each other. The rhythm section was super-tight, with drummer Jeremy Hanson playing his drums in a very controlled but loud manner. Frontman Josh Grier was chord-y, but varied his playing so that each song sounded different—that said, there was a hard groove to Tapes ‘n Tapes that was impossible to shake off. Most of the songs were stompy aggressors of rock, which is pretty welcome considering the usual wispiness of the genre. Maybe it was a little meandering at times, but if Tapes ‘n Tapes embraces its solid potential as a jam band, this could be a new period of longevity for it.
Riding a few years of success and goodwill, Tapes ‘n Tapes played songs that the audience wanted to hear, not expending a great deal of turmoil onstage to put on a show. That’s not to say it wasn’t solid—Grier was particularly solid in his guitarwork, even if his vocals were unfortunately hidden under the mix—but the members adhered to their places on the stage. The group’s presence was lacking due to the fact that they just weren’t all that animated. Or maybe it was just the fact that Grier was wearing a t-shirt with Christopher Walken’s face on it, which really distracted me from the antics (or lack thereof) of the members. But you know, not all bands need to be jumpy.
It’s amazing what hunger does to a band’s set. Conversely, New York up-and-comers Oberhofer, made up of university students who are taking a semester off to build buzz, was all over the place—literally. Frontman Brad Oberhofer, he of the flippy hair and cerulean guitar, was jumping off the amp and performing vocal tics into the mic—’loud “oohs,” grunts, yelps, whispers, and whistles. As musicians alone, Oberhofer is talented—Brad Oberhofer plays fingerstyle guitar louder and faster than anybody in his age bracket with a pick, and guitarist Matt Scheiner has this crazy attack that got applause from the audience—but the band really moves. When Oberhofer’s strap fell off mid-song, the band kept playing, and Oberhofer had to sing into the mic, “this is the interlude where I put my strap back on. It’s the best part of the song.” Scheiner started a song lying down, gradually rising as the song’s tension built. Bassist Dylan Treleven held his instrument like a rifle, and drummer Pete Sustarsic was vicious. It was an entirely dynamic performance that ended with sweat dripping off of Brad’s flippy hair, and coupled with a few absurdly catchy yelp-pop songs is a reason why this band, with no LP out, is one to watch.