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Aloha / Rahim / Alexander the Great

Aloha / Rahim / Alexander the Great: live in Bloomingtonlive in Bloomington (2006)
Polyvinyl Records

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: JesseJesse
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Me and my fiance just moved to Bloomington, and there could be no better way to kick it off than an Aloha show. We have similar musical tastes, but it always boils down to the fact that Aloha is our shared favorite band. So when we heard that Aloha was going to be playing the Art Hospital, we were e.


Me and my fiance just moved to Bloomington, and there could be no better way to kick it off than an Aloha show. We have similar musical tastes, but it always boils down to the fact that Aloha is our shared favorite band. So when we heard that Aloha was going to be playing the Art Hospital, we were excited.

The Art Hospital is a renovated building (maybe it was an old tiny hospital?) with one main gallery space that the show was held in. Only there was one problem -- the ceilings were huge and it was linoleum floors. Each snare hit rang out for a good minute or so in all the echo. Which didn't fare so good for Alexander the Great.

Alexander the Great is a local band, and while surprisingly talented for what I might have expected out of a band whose drummer looked 16, they had trouble playing with the space they were in. The guitar was indistinguishable half the time what with the echo, and the drums were played way too loud even though there was only a mic on the kick drum. Other than that, they had a pretty general setup -- bass, guitar, keys, drums. While the genre they played in (sort of generic indie synth rock) didn't tickle me too much, I enjoyed watching them play. They did some really interesting things for fills and bridges. Overall I'd compare them to the Get Up Kids or Motion City Soundtrack, you know, that whole deal. Maybe you'd dig 'em.

Next up was New York's Rahim. I'd had the luck of getting both their EP and LP from the 'Org to review. They play a minimalist sort of angular art rock that gives props to Gang of Four. I've always really liked their albums, but couldn't always pay attention -- they lock into stiff grooves and don't always fill in the blanks. They played amazingly, though. Watching the drummer made me aware of the difficult rhythms he uses. Rahim's a three-piece and while the main setup is guitar, bass and drums, they also have a synth and some auxiliary percussion that the guitarist and bass player switch off on. They started out strong and really let the space work for them -?? the echo only accentuated the pounding drums and made them huge while it made the minimalist guitar and bass seem even more sparse. Again, the only complaint I have with this band is that I get lost in the grooves. I kind of want all of their songs to be about a minute shorter. Besides that though, Rahim really wowed me and made me want to take a look back at that EP and LP.

As Aloha took the stage, the room became crowded. It was apparent who everyone came to see. And for good reason. Just like when I saw them at the Abbey Pub about a year ago, Aloha killed it. Hands down. They are one of the most entertaining bands to watch live. On stage they had two keyboards set up front, and the marimba (or whatever that thing is) set up on stage left while the bass player was stage right and the drums were right behind everything -- which would have been a perfect setup if the singer didn't also need to switch to guitar, which proved to make some space issues. They played most of their latest release, Some Echoes and then transitioned into songs from Here Comes Everyone and only played one song off of Sugar.

Right off the bat drummer Cale Parks showed his amazing ability. Out of every drummer I've ever seen, Parks takes the cake as the most inventive. He plays dynamics so well, exaggerated all the loud and all the soft hits, improvising different ways to play. The rest of the band melds extremely smoothly into each instrument they play, twisting it in a way that's unique to each member. But what really makes an Aloha show amazing is the improvisation that goes on between each song. Each song transitions into the next with a series of keyboard tweaking and percussive hits while band members switch to a different instrument. It's really undescribable. You'd have to see it yourself. Their grasp on melody and harmony and dissonance is impeccable. So go see them play, because I could write on and on and on about it, but I know you wouldn't want to read it.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Jesse (August 24, 2006)

My bad. TJ Lipple took on percussion and production duties, Koltnow did not produce Sugar. I had a little mix up.

Anonymous (August 23, 2006)

eric koltnow was the original vibraphone player for aloha. the producer for sugar was drew peters. please make a note of it.

Jesse (August 22, 2006)

Nah, they didn't.

Set list (I think, memory's not that great which is why I didn't put it in the review, and this isn't in order):

-All the Wars
-You've Escaped
-Boys in the Bathtub
-Water Your Hands
-Brace Your Face
-Your Eyes
-Come Home
-Weekend
-Mountain
-Let Your Head Hang Low
-Summer Lawn

Anchors (August 22, 2006)

Did they play Perry Como Gold?

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

cales solo is rad. i skate in the morning while the sun rises, while i blast aloha out my boom box.

Jesse (August 22, 2006)

Well Dan, the original auxiliary percussionist who co-wrote and produced Sugar quit. And was replaced by TJ Lipple. So that's why they only play that one song off of Sugar. New line up. New outlook. Also, the band sort of broke up there for a little bit until they got TJ so it's sort of like Aloha 2.0.

bears_love_tacos (August 22, 2006)

but since you wrote this i'm going to go check them out

bears_love_tacos (August 22, 2006)

also who the hell are these guys

bears_love_tacos (August 22, 2006)

it's "my fiance and i"

danperrone (August 22, 2006)

one song off sugar!!!!

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

BrendanKelly (August 22, 2006)

who?

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