Skip to content

Live: Rain Machine

October 20, 2009

IMG_5103Kyp Malone and his band as Rain Machine (insert beard joke here)

TV on the Radio is one of my absolute favourite bands. So when I found out that Kyp “The Beard” Malone, one third of the Brooklyn trio, was releasing a solo side project called Rain Machine, I was pretty excited. Malone—a singer and guitarist—is known for a super-sweet falsetto and plumping up TVOTR’s sound with his rhythmic knowledge.

I listened to the self-titled record when it came out and loved how personal and intimate it is. I also interviewed Malone for my side gig over at Exclaim!

And so last night I decided to head over to Lee’s Palace to see the show.

Indie-folk singer Sharon Van Etten opened the show, accompanying herself on guitar for nine or 10 songs. She mentioned that she’s toured with Canadian band, Great Lake Swimmers, and I was really impressed by the power and control in her voice. My friend and I were trying to pin down who she sounds like, because her vocals are quite distinct. I kind of thought she sounded like a less-Irish variant of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, but my friend thought she sounded more like Canadian singer Julie Doiron.

I’ve got to give props to the sound guys at Lee’s for the acoustics last night. Both Van Etten and Rain Machine sounded stunning. This is why I will always value going to small club shows—there’s nothing more amazing than being able to hear all the nuances in a musician’s work, live.

After a brief break, Malone came on with three other band members. He announced they were missing a fifth, Heidi, and all night kept making reference to her. I feel like that was a glimpse into how he works: genuinely collaboratively. They worked methodically through almost all of the tracks on Rain Machine, stopping only to program loops and switch guitars. Malone has a relatively quiet demeanor but he made jokes during transitions and interacted with the crowd, talking about a local barkeep in Detroit and throwing us the requisite ‘Polite Canadians’ reference.

Early in the set they played the anthemic, jangly “Smiling Black Faces” which sounded probably even better live than it does on the record. Another highlight was his completely solo performance of a track he wrote prior to recording the album. The sprawling track featured an extended guitar intro, plugged-in folksiness and had Malone showcasing his depth of vocal range. You could tell just where TVOTR gets a lot of their signature style from. “Winter Song” closed the show and it was just insane—there’s a lot of quietness to the songs on Rain Machine, but there’s also a lot of loud intensity there as well. They chose to end on loud: I’m talking wailing guitars, feedback, banging drums, just layers and layers of noise.

The one disappointment was the sparse turn-out. In a weird way, I was kind of embarassed that probably a little over 50 people showed up to a really epic show with a lot of cache. In the end, however, it made for a really special set with a private feeling.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Simon permalink*
    October 21, 2009 7:10 pm

    I am sad I missed this. Only the one opener?

  2. Anupa permalink*
    October 21, 2009 11:21 pm

    Yup, just the one opener. It was probably better that way. And I personally thought her set was a couple songs too long. Good or not, you need to keep my attention.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: