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Dosh @ The Cedar

Dec 23, 2013

On Friday, December 20th, we saw a traditional holiday performance at The Cedar from local act Dosh with support from The Anonymous Choir and a warm-up experimental project of five guitars and one bass guitar.

On Friday, December 20th, we saw a traditional holiday performance at The Cedar from local act Dosh with support from The Anonymous Choir and a warm-up experimental project of five guitars and one bass guitar.



Setting up the ambiance, and noted as “welcoming sounds,” they consisted of Andrew Broder, Mark Erickson, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Ben Durrant, James Everest, and Ben Berg.  These six artists were dappled throughout the confines of The Cedar, each with their own local amplifier(s) and effects pedals and other circuits.  Three were in the front, three in the back.  This ambient music background was stimulating and piqued everyone’s interest in the soundscapes that the group created, as a prelude to the two main acts with obvious focus on the headliner Martin Dosh. It was quite fun to stake a spot out with any of the six and see how each contributed to the whole scheme.  It was mostly noise, but who could ask for anything better?  I think I speak for us all that we’d take live music over filler.




A new collaborative work between Nona Marie Invie from Dark Dark Dark and a bunch of other female vocalists, who may or may not be anonymous.  While writing this I’m seeing they have likely become less anonymous and are now calling themselves Nona Marie and the Choir.  A six-piece? Nine? Eleven? Forty-Two? Their roster seems to be quite fluid.  The Choir produced covers of acoustic renditions of their favorite songs and per their website, “they want to be happy.”  Tonight’s selection was the complete album by Neil Young, “After The Gold Rush”. I waited while being both pertinacious and impatient for them to play the beautiful ballad “Don't Let it Bring You Down” which was also nicely covered by Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics prior, and finally they did. It was well worth the wait.  At the show there were ten members in this appearance, each adding harmony upon more harmony, and the beauty of harmony is never overrated nor underrated.


The keys were played on a Technics P-50 keyboard.  On the back of the keyboard was electrical tape and/or black gorilla tape masking out the make and model, but they were kind enough to entertain my question on stage as to what keyboard they were using.  Luckily, my inquiries were announced live, and I was quickly identified as a potential source of trouble. But it was worth it.




The MPLS-based one-man show of classic synthesizers, modern software looping strategies with sequencer, heavy sampling, and all the rest that creates an ethereal, musical amalgam.  One often wonders prior to a show of this style how the audience participates.  We all know that your success in the music business is telling your fans you care and not shying away from live performances, even if the recording studio is more conducive for the perfect balance of sound which may or may not apply here.


First item on the agenda, Audience Reception: So how did the audience react? Were we a pack of drones? No, certainly not that. Instead we were all waiting for each new layer or lick or drum beat to be added to or subtracted from a giant wash of sound (not the result of tossing a bunch of Casiotones in to a coin-operated laundry followed by electrocution of the resultant mixture); but more poetically and graciously a beautiful soundscape that sometimes you wouldn’t quite hear until you see it created live with real-time amplifiers, feedback, feedback loops, and samples of your favorite source of the proverbial detergent (with feedback), where the music impromptu lets you always hear something new which highlights the greatest parts of a live music show.  Some of these parts and layers were recreated from Dosh’s albums proper, and some were not.  Therein lies another reason to go to a live show and especially to celebrate and support our local artists.


Second agenda item, Equipment (for all you vintage key and synthesizer fans out there, myself included): Dosh’s sounds weren’t played from a white MacBook with an 1/8-inch output cable, which was very refreshing.  A set of real, non-software sequencers were all that was used—and all parts with the exception of a few guest artists, were played by Dosh himself. This is not something to complain about, since during one track and with deep focus I counted over fourteen unique tracks running (though I’m sure there were more) that were all circulating through their respective loops and landing right back on the beat.  Your best sequencer is going to have a hard time with that, especially since Dosh was changing them with great confidence and bravado. It was a puzzle, and I’ve never seen such an elaborate and well-done recreation of a live track structure without that trite MacBook laptop. Congratulations Dosh!


Last item on the agenda, Music Delivery: Dosh has been recently celebrated for making his 2013 album “Milk Money” quite a bit more accessible to the general audience.  Sounds are comparable to artists such as The Books, múm, and a bit of Deastro, among others. Much of this album was performed at the show but didn’t include the crowd-favorite, “We are the Worst” from the 2013 album.  I inadvertently just implied that we needed to hear that track for a full show, but honestly, we did not since it was such a solid performance nonetheless.  Dosh was a master at running ten billion sequencers and adding each track to the mix with real instruments.  His equipment centerpiece was a Fender Rhodes electric piano (for those not familiar, can be sustained by letting the ½ tuning fork ring, or can be silenced by pressing on it).  Ergo, why is this even a discussion? Dosh certainly knows what he’s doing.  He balances either of the output styles from the Rhodes by manipulating the keyboard, and he makes his tracks come to life.  Everybody in the audience was stunned.  Open jaws all around, an eccentric dancer towards the back of the room running his own dance show, and an entire audience cheering and celebrating each track with great enthusiasm.


We all hope that this tradition continues for the future, but we must remind ourselves that music also is contingent on our support.  Each person should do him or herself a favor and try to catch The Anonymous Choir and Dosh before it’s too late.  While we might assume they will be with us forever, pay a paltry tenner and see them while you can.

Evan Weitz