If the ninety-six hour annoyance that was Tropical Storm Lee taught New Orleanians anything about ourselves, it’s that we’ve come to expect the worst case scenario whenever mother nature even hints at showing the city a piece of her unforgiving wrath. Admittedly, that’s a good thing: though many people probably have fond memories of bar hopping during Ida or partaking in hotel room revelry in the middle of Hurricane Andrew, experience has certainly worn down our wanton penchant for a good time at the expense of human safety. Nevertheless, Lee was such an unadulterated snooze for the most part that many people would have gladly gone drunkenly rogue if not for the fact that majority of this past Labor Day weekend’s events were cancelled, and many other venues and watering holes were simply closed for business.
Lucky then, that Meric Long and Logan Kroeber decided if Tropical Storm Lee wasn’t planning to show up by Sunday night, then their band, San Francisco’s the Dodos, would. Supported by Montreal chamber pop act the Luyas – less a band than a small conglomeration of immensely talented multi-instrumentalists as proficient on a Wurlitzer or french horn as they are on a guitar and drum kit – the Dodos headed directly into what was left of Lee by Sunday night, and after battling fierce downpours between taunts of momentary sunshine, the band’s presence was all that concertgoers needed to lift themselves from their couches to brave the finicky precipitation of the last few days and pack One Eyed Jacks to near capacity.
After a decidedly experimental set by the Luyas found the crowd altogether in awe of lead singer Jessie Stein’s unique, high-register vocal delivery, her chops on the unconventional and anomalous Moodswinger and drummer Stefan Schneider’s metronomic mastery of some outrageously complex rhythmic patterns, Long and Kroeber (joined by touring rhythm guitarist Chris Riemer) wasted no time jumping into a string of head-bobbing, danceable, rhythm-labyrinth crowd favorites “Fools” and “Black Night”, the latter of which included a bonus mega-long intro – the result of a broken guitar pedal and Long’s stubbornness in admitting momentary defeat.
The highlights of the evening, however, were “God?” – the epically lethargic prog folk bookend to the Visiter album, placed perfectly in the role of main set closer – and the collaborative encore that followed, interpolating members of the Luyas (with the whole live collective being referred to lovingly as “the Doyas”) for a meeting of the minds-type performance between each band’s rhythm savant that was so impressive it may have single-handedly salvaged what was otherwise the wettest and most morose Labor Day weekend in recent memory.