Maps and Atlases at The Bishop 3/8/12
By: Bari Finkel
From the moment the opening band started on time, I knew this was going to be a unique show at The Bishop. The sold out Spirit of ’68 and WIUX cosponsored Maps and Atlases show created an exciting atmosphere, one where wiggle room was sacrificed for more energetic fans.
The night began with Qu’ran Qu’ran, a three-piece Bloomington based band. Equipped with two guitars, drums, and a lot of male falsetto, Qu’ran Qu’ran produced eerie, danceable music. The audience mingled, visited the bars, or observed with tapping feet and swaying bodies. The lead guitarist delivered crisp and smooth riffs matching his high, falsetto reaching vocals. Their music was slower, leaving the audience’s energy suspended.
As The Broderick, a four-piece Bloomington rock band, took to the stage, the crowd members’ anticipation grew. They had an instant pull with the audience. With the simplistic set up of lead and rhythm guitar, drums, and bass, The Broderick creates modern rock infused with catchy choruses and complex tempos. Many of the songs toy with the tempo, incorporating slowed down bridges that lead to upbeat versus, which animated the music and kept the crowd from being bored.
The progression of bands perfectly assisted the audience’s rising energy levels. By the time The Broderick left the stage, the now packed Bishop was anxiously anticipating Maps and Atlases. The wait was well worth it.
Shows at The Bishop have an inherently intimate quality to them, and Maps and Atlases were able to truly shine in the setting. Dave, the lead singer and guitarist, continually explained throughout the night that this was the first performance Maps and Atlases have played in a long time. Their popularity significantly increased since the release of their last album, and the crowd reflected that. With each song came accompanying vocals from the audience, along with approving shouts and whistles. The band members were glowing in the positive responses, which only influenced them to play even better. The music enveloped everyone, from the upbeat drumming (which included using a cowbell and desk on a regular basis), to their distinct finger tapping riffs. Even without the layered vocals, wind and horn sections found on the album, they were able to deliver a full and gorgeous sound.
The height of the set was the transition from “Will” to “The Charm,” the first two tracks off the album. The slower and wordless “Will” steadied the crowd as they shouted out the “na na na”s, but as soon as the powerful ballad, “The Charm” began, the crowd was electrified. After a few more songs, and to the dismay of much of the audience, Maps and Atlases ended their set and headed off the stage. Immediately the audience chanted, “encore,” yelling and begging for the four members to return. They came back to the stage one at a time, each of them humble and excited to start playing again. Dave was first to the stage. He picked up his guitar, and started the encore with the memorable riff of “Pigeon.” As the crowd joined in by clapping, he soon realized that the crowd was offbeat. Unlike other musicians who may have quieted until the rest of the band got on stage, or asked the crowd to stop, Dave attempted to play to our beat. The rest of the band mates settled into their places, but they were laughing as they struggled to keep our beat. Finally the crowd quit clapping, and the song began. The crowd was an instant mob of dancing bodies. Some people started to mosh, others tried to crowd surf, which was more comedic than effective, and everyone was having a great time. They ended their set with many “thank you”s and promises of returning.
The Maps and Atlases’ energy was palpable, from the beginning of the show to the end of their encore. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen, and I look forward to seeing them again the next time they stop in Bloomington.
Last 5 posts by bfinkel
- Interview with Dead Beach - April 12th, 2013
- Interview with Brownie Mountain - April 9th, 2013
- Interview with Darwin Deez - April 9th, 2013
- Interview with Erin McKeown - April 9th, 2013
- Bearded Men Burning Down the House; Phosphorescent and Strand of Oaks at the Bishop - April 9th, 2013