Maps & Atlases at Amsterdam Bar and Hall
June 19th, 2012
After scouring far and wide across the United States, the Beware and Be Careful Tour made their last stop at Amsterdam Bar and Hall on Wednesday, June 20th. I personally have never been to this venue and was absolutely floored by the three openers. Three-piece Minneapolis band, Youth At Large kicked off the night followed by Chicago’s Suns.
The Big Sleep kept the crowd awake and heads nodding to their fast beats. “You Can’t Touch the Untouchable” catches you off guard with its periodic four beat measures of silences that trick you into thinking the song is over, but The Big Sleep always picks up right where they left off like they never even stopped. After they initially ended their set, the audience applauded them back for one more song. “Brown Beauty,” an instrumental hooks you with a thumping bass and the ascending guitar lines provide a steel-cut whine that rang overhead.
Maps and Atlases trekked across a great selection from both their new album and previous work. Early on there was a malfunctioning microphone, but the audience happily filled in with the lyrics and thunderous cheers. Lead singer, Dave Davison looking like a young Allen Ginsberg with his long hair, beard, and thick black rimmed glasses couldn’t help but smile. The microphone was quickly fixed and Maps and Atlases proceeded to throw us “Daily News,” “The Most Trustworthy Tin Cans,” and “Vampires.” The crowd was swaying along and there was even some head banging to my surprise. One couldn’t stop whipping his blonde hair back and forth. It’s enthralling to watch them assemble their complex time signatures and rhythmic structures. Erin Elders, guitarist rapidly taps along the neck of the guitar all the way to the pick-up.
Davison’s descending vocals have a slight scratchy texture that soars above the instrumentation especially in “Old and Gray.”
Written by Abbie Gobeli, Radio K volunteer