Upstream 2018: Maps & Atlases at Little London Plane (6/1)

Upstream Music Fest + Summit, Live Reviews
06/01/2018
Dusty Henry
photos by Morgen Schuler (view set)

What better way to celebrate your album release than with a live on-air performance? Maps & Atlases released their latest album Lightlessness Is Nothing New today on Barsuk Records and also managed to squeeze in being the first act to play at this year’s Upstream Music Fest + Summit for KEXP’s live broadcast (the band will play later this evening at 11:45 p.m. at Elysian Fields – a long day for these indie rockers). Playing double duty with setting the tone for the day and promoting an album can be a lot, but the band’s set of knotty, adventurous guitar rock set a high bar for the rest of the festival.

As a trio, the band has never sounded more massive than they do on these new tracks. Hearing it live, you can feel every sizzle and hum of the guitars crashing against the bombast of the drums. At moments, the set veered surprisingly close to math rock territory, highlighting the band’s technical prowess while still infusing it with just a hint of garage rock danger. For a bright and sunny morning, the album’s title felt a little ironic. For just a few songs, the band seemed to embrace the light instead of lightlessness, giving a vital adrenaline boost to push through the day. Maps & Altases proved themselves to be one of the best acts to bookend both ends of the day.

 
 
 
 
 

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