Truly, we can't do without you, Dan Snaith. With a discography 15 years deep and only getting sweeter with time, any chance to see Snaith in any venue under any of his monikers is an incredible blessing. In fact, I bet he could have sold just as many tickets throwing a DJ set as Daphni or even just stripping his Caribou display down to a one man setup. But words can't express how incredible an opportunity it is to get to see Snaith bring Caribou to live in the way that he chose to do on this tour. Seattle got a double shot of Caribou in tip-top form on Wednesday night, both with opening sets from rising Young Turks associate Koreless. In both, Snaith put on an incredible show, bringing new album Our Love to brilliant, rich life with help of a full band. Caribou has never sounded bigger or more beautiful than it has on this tour, and Seattle is a lucky city to get to say they got a piece of it.Lewis Roberts (Koreless) is still on the rise to larger fame and awareness outside of the UK, but given his current trajectory, it won't be much longer before he's a household name in the electronic scene. Just this past year, he's come off of collaborations with SBTRKT and opening gigs for Mogwai, and now, opening for Caribou seems like the perfect opportunity to keep the forward movement rolling. Furthermore, Roberts compliments Snaith very well. His dark, ambient work gave the audience a chance to ponder and open their minds before the complete sensory overload of Caribou's brilliant set. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Roberts invited back to Seattle for Decibel Festival soon.
Draped in all white, Dan and his band entered the stage and took their positions, all without a word, taking instruments and starting up the Our Love title track. Other than the obvious album reintroduction, "Our Love" is also a perfect opening track because it allows the audience to ease into how much tonight is going to blow their mind. The track builds so perfectly and shows off all pieces of Caribou's sonic wonders with a perfect amount of space between phases. Wearing bright yellow socks on a decorative rug, Dan seemed as natural as if he were in his bedroom, effortlessly transitioning between keyboards, drums, and haunting vocals without a second thought. After a great dueling drum piece at the end, the band queued up "Silver", in which Dan and bassist John Schmersal traded vocals in gorgeous form. This was just the beginning.
"Mars" was next, giving opportunity to show off one of Dan's best live assets: drummer Brad Weber. "Mars" is six minutes of nothing but syncopation, and Brad does it all live without even blinking. Seriously, trying to keep up mentally with the separate patterns between Brad's feet, hands, and the rest of the band was near impossible, and pretty much anyone with a visual confirmation on Brad in the Showbox had their jaw on the floor. Eventually, Dan joined on drums and the track exploded into a massive, unbelievably powerful dance track, even more so than it already is on the record. This raw, visceral, unparalleled energy would only be seen once more in the set, later on Swim track "Bowls", and truly, not much can compare with that.
But in all reality, a whole set of "Bowls" and "Mars" would be too much more most human minds to handle - Caribou's set flowed perfectly due to the incredible balance between the tracks at hand. Dan's selections for this tour are entirely pulled from Our Love and 2010's Swim, but the choice doesn't feel limiting at all. The two records are flawless beginning to end and musically play off each other incredibly well, both offering something the other purposefully doesn't have. Where Swim brings the loose, hazy lucid dreams, Our Love offers a more vivid, polished vision of a psychedelic love story. In the middle, the two records come alive in new ways you would have never thought possible.
By the time Dan got to "Can't Do Without You", the crowd had lost all ability to hold anything back. The whole crowd sang along with the pop wonder and jumped along. Dan was quietly losing his mind. After dropping the Daphni record and playing a lot of DJ shows, it is evident that Dan is glad to be back to the live setup, getting to share in the kinetic energy of his audience whenever and wherever possible. For the encore, Caribou broke out a marvelous rendition of Sun, bathed in yellow light and warmed by incredible energy from the crowd. It's not often that you get shows like this where the energy in the room feels so intimately connected, and Caribou brings about that kind of intimacy. So often we get distracted with individualizing love and forget the communal nature of our love. That's the love that Dan Snaith brings to the table and offers you at Caribou shows, and we'll gladly take it whenever we can.
In the last few years, there’s been a slew of English, (mostly) London-based bands emerging from basement gigs with world-beating ambitions and the musical elements to make good on them: a heavy dose of pop melody, a balance of snarky storytelling and heartfelt appeal, and most of all, hooks that a…