As much as Menomena wish to convey that they are the sum of three equal parts, primary vocalist/bassist Justin Harris and secondary vocalist/drummer Danny Seim outsize tertiary vocalist/keyboardist Brent Knopf. Harris is a force on bass and mixes in baritone saxophone awesomely using a non-standard rock instrument. Seim (man is he tall) has a knack for hitting the cymbal and rocks like Bonham in that his beats sound readymade for hip hop. Knopf has the most delicate/wispy voice and on this night (by my count) sang the fewest lead vocals. On tour they are assisted by Joe Haege on guitar.
Across a 70-minute, 14 song set, Menomena played heavily from their recent album Mines while plucking the “hits” from 2007’s Friend and Foe and only “Strongest Man In The World” from their debut, which served as an encore. (If you are unfamiliar with their work, especially Seim’s, “Strongest Man In The World” is a good general example of Menomena.)
The strongest of the new material was Mines opener “Queen Black Acid” with its refrain ‘You bring me down.’ I am also a sucker for the saxophone work on “Weird” and cannot understate the force of the drum work throughout the night, including on “The Pelican.” Menomena is such a talented bunch, but probably too unconventional to ever truly crossover.
Opening act Suckers turned in a respectable set. They too had multiple vocalists, one of which resembled David Byrne in his delivery, the other (visually a cross between Captain Jack Sparrow and Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia complete with face paint) reaching his voice into an uncomfortably high register at times. Suckers feel like a lesser version of their Brooklyn neighbors, Yeasayer. Their best song was the closer “It Gets Your Body Movin’” featuring trumpet and trombone.
5. Muscle’n Flo
6. Five Little Rooms
8. Queen Black Acid
9. Wet And Rusting
10. Dirty Cartoons
11. The Pelican
12. Sleeping Beauty
13. Evil Bee
14. Strongest Man In The World
*Update: Menomena will be on Last Call With Carson Daly on Tuesday 9/28.