Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lost in the Trees at the MFA 2/21/14

OK, I have been slow to keep up my posting. HOWEVER, even though there has been an embarrassing amount of time between now and the concert, a short review is in order.


Well, because I have seen Lost in the Trees twice and I honestly don't know why more people don't attend their shows.  A couple of years ago I saw them when they were touring in support of A Church That Fits Our Needs, an album largely in response to the suicide of frontman Ari Picker's mother.  It is, as you might imagine, a deeply personal offering, very moving and...rather depressing.  Of course, it is just the sort of thing some of us like.  The songs on the album are complex (I would say "beautiful" if I wasn't such a grump).  They did a good job of replicating the mood and feeling live as well.

Lost in the Trees in an auditorium

Now, that first concert was held at the Brighton Music Hall, a very small venue with a short stage, a bar, and a pool table in back.  If all the bands I liked played there I would be a happy man.  However, I am not sure the bands would be.  Very small can also feel cramped when you are hoping for a good turnout.  Unfortunately the space wasn't cramped at all that night.  There was a snowstorm and few folks other than my wife were willing to drive into the city to make the show.  I believe we were the only two people who weren't somehow related to the band.

Anyway, this time we were at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).  When we think of concerts at the museum what springs to mind are those intimate gatherings in one of the larger wings surrounded by paintings, wine, cheese, and wealthy people chuckling warmly at some witticism from the performer.  Sounds nice, doesn't it?  I believe these concerts do in fact happen at the MFA.  However, those I go to occur in what looks like an old high school auditorium, except there are more turtlenecks.  It is a little strange.  What I do like about it, though, is that there are fewer drunks and most of the folks were there to hear the band.

The opening band the first time I saw them was Midnight Dickens, a force of nature that has since broken up.  The opener we saw this time has a name--which I forgot--but we can call them "Young Tears For Fears".  They were fine if you like original works that sound just like Tears For Fears.  They played a short set and then Lost came out and did their thing.

The new album (Past Life) is less acoustic (no swoopy strings, less horn work as well).  The band, itself, is stripped down, too and looks ever-so-slightly more traditional in the modern sense.  The electronic elements of their music have been moved a few steps forward and the feel--both live and on the album--is less orchestral.  This was an interesting development as the space screamed high school orchestra and was pretty much asking for the sort of group they brought to Brighton.  Of course, the larger group worked well there and the smaller group was excellent at the MFA.

Ari Picker (right...looking at the band) and another dude (left)

The most intriguing element of this band is the way they suck you in.  I have no idea how they do it.  Picker will look out toward the audience from time to time as he sings but mostly he likes to look as his band.  Emma Nadeau, who sings and plays a variety of instruments--mostly keyboards and synthesizers in the current show--made the occasional effort at chatting us up.  However, mostly they play and the music is fantastic.  Maybe it is the moodiness of what they do.  Listening to them live I get the sense that if I don't pay attention everything could go horribly wrong.

There you go.  I have nothing else to say really.  They were great.  My one suggestion (if they ever stumble to this small part of the interwebs) is to play one of the happy songs (I believe they have two) as the encore.  I left feeling happy about the evening, but oddly melancholy.  Which--now that I think about it--may have been the point.

Here is a link for tour dates and album info:  Lost in the Trees

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