February 5, 2010

Live: Do Make Say Think @ Mississippi Studios

Toronto effects-pedal wizards Do Make Say Think brought 3-plus hours of music to Portland's Mississippi Studios last night enchanting the capacity crowd with their mind-bending guitar work. The intricate and loop-heavy picking came first in the form of Ohad Benchetrit's Years followed by Charles Spearin's Happiness Project and finally Do Make Say Think, although it was clear that there's very little separation between the solo projects and the band as musicians freely rotated in and out of the lineup throughout the night. Like Broken Social Scene, which also calls Benchetrit and Spearin members, the group acts more as a collective of artists that share creative interests than the traditional band.

That was made especially clear with the Happiness Projcet, an experiment of sorts where Spearin—part mad scientist, part composer—and the rest of the band used instruments to find and mimic the melody of everyday speech. The conversations, all previously recorded by Spearin in Canada, included discussions of the meaning of love from several of his neighbors as well as a hilarious bit of yelling and frustration from the guitarist's young daughter.

At the end of the night, Do Make Say Think made it clear they don't just put on a rock show. Sure, there was foot-stomping, head-banging and some behind the back guitar play, but it also felt at times like an avant garde concerto disguised as a scruffy underground rock group. Spacey, psychedelic and daydream-inducing, yes, but this is also smart and extremely thoughtful music that if nothing else, proves its worth in originality and a wholehearted delivery. Did I mention inspiring? Yes, it's also that. (Photo by Dan Cronin)

Do Make Say Think - "Frederica" (Chicago 12-5-09)

Do Make Say Think

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