March 29, 2006

SXSW Report #31: Pattern Is Movement @ Lava Lounge

After Oxbow’s set, I walked to the Lava Lounge to see Philadelphia quartet Pattern Is Movement. This band spent even more time sound-checking than Luminous Orange did on Wednesday. Bassist Andrew Thiboldeaux made the rest of the band play the first 30 seconds of at least three different songs, and asked the audience which instruments needed to be lower or higher in the mix. I wanted to shout at them to start the set already, but once they actually did, I realized why Andrew was being so picky.

Put simply, Pattern Is Movement might have the most fitting band name in rock history. All of their songs felt like experiments in syncopation; they depend entirely on the odd juxtapositions that occur when each instrument plays in a different meter simultaneously. You can’t dance to their music, and if it wasn’t for Andrew’s soothing tenor (the only link that their music has to conventional rock), you wouldn’t be able to sing along to it either! The musicians needed to hear each other; one missed cue could’ve thrown Pattern Is Movement down a cliff into the lowest depths of suckdom. That missed cue never came, though.

Joseph sarcastically refers to bands that sound like Pattern Is Movement as “rehearsal rock.” In this band’s case, though, the designation is a compliment: it takes a LOT of rehearsal to sound as precise as they do, especially when your songs are intent on placing square pegs in round holes.

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