Last Night: Jonas Reinhardt and 3 Leafs at Million Fishes
Jonas Reinhardt and 3 Leafs
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Words by Jennifer Maerz, photos by Chrissy Loader
Better than: Dancing at any legit San Francisco club
Summer came early to San Francisco this weekend, but the real place to break a sweat was at Million Fishes last night. The Mission arts compound held a makeshift dance party in its white-bricked basement, one so fevered it sucked out all the fresh air in the room -- by midnight all you could breathe in was the weed-hinting, heat-generated scent of people-gettin'-frenzied on the post rock beat of local trio Jonas Reinhardt.
The band was the headlining act last night, set up on the floor before a sea of heads that ticked to its live percussion/drum machine rhythms. As the instrumental songs continued to build -- their momentum carried on a bridge between krautrock's head trips and warm drones of synth pop, a combo one friend said reminded him of playing '80s video games -- the bodies before the group showed similar progression. The excitement moved from one dude dragging a raised arm through the air like it was tied to an errant kite to over half the crowd popping off with bodies working out Jonas Reinhardt's gently infectious sound textures. The DJ, her turntables precariously perched on an ironing board along the side of the room, had to politely tap many a shoulder to prevent the bouncing fans from tipping her setup.
If you needed a break from the synth-shaman steam room -- and at one point, we kinda did, it got so damn stuffy in there -- Million Fishes is a collective arts space housing, among other things, a beautiful zen garden with dark wood carvings and smooth rocks. As the night went on, there were almost as many people out there sipping brown-bagged forties and tall boys and smoking cigarettes as there were watching the band, making the event feel less like a proper show and more like a really great house party where people don't break your shit but still go out of their way to have fun.
Another local band, 3 Leafs, helped set the mood toward "motion," though. They were also creating a psychedelic, percussive sound that tethered spaced-out krautrock to loose dance floor grooves. Vocalist Tim Cohn's lyrics worked like another instrument with delayed effects, his words echoing out through the speakers as he added another pair of sticks against Warren Huegel's drum kit. You felt the rhythms first, as they punctured you through your rib cage -- especially watching the band while crammed against the memebers in this cozy space. Josh Pollack sat one the floor as the effects wizard, working a control panel of knobs and switches resting on an old suitcase while a guitarist wrestled out riffs above him.
We missed the first act -- Celine Dion, which based on name alone, we were sad to not have seen -- but the music we were able to catch was well suited for a space that shuns the boundaries between the arts. Million Fishes tags itself an incubator for everything from visual art, to film, dance, music, conceptual art, and new media. Hints of that aesthetic were everywhere from the minimal red and blue lighting in the ceiling to the t-shirts (with images of mushrooms and Native American looking prints) sold by the bar to the aforementioned zen garden space.
I've been to a fair number of shows in art galleries in the past, but I have to say that last night Million Fishes put on a pretty great event that was very easy on the eyes, ears, and pores (for those who worked up that sweat).
By the way: The dude dolling out the $4 wine said Million Fishes will continue hosting shows in the future. Only the space is planning on scaling back from a monthly to a bi-monthly schedule. Keep up on their audio curating here.
Fun fact: Jonas Reinhardt released its self-titled debut last fall on Kranky, where the group is now labelmates with Deerhunter.