Show Recap: Tanlines at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, May 20, 2015 05:18pm | Post a Comment

Tanlines have always stood out among the crowded field of electro-pop bands. Their 2012 debut, Mixed Emotions, was clever without being pretentious, cute without being cloying, and hooky as hell to the point that we'd go see them play live years after the fact and without a new album.

Now, with a sturdy new album finally under their belts, the reliably fine live band came out to Amoeba Hollywood May 19 to play a set from the just-released Highlights. The duo (live, a quartet) launched into their first-ever Amoeba set with countryish ballad “Invisible Ways,” a bold choice since it’s one example of how Highlights hops genres and strays from the electro-pop mold, but it’s also one of the album's best songs and a chance for singer Eric Emm to do his best Bryan Ferry over jangling chords.

“We’re not used to seeing this many CDs in the audience,” bassist/keyboardist/percussionist Jesse Cohen said before diving into the surf-rocky new wave of “Slipping Away.” “I love that song!” he said as they tended to their sound and intro’d Mixed Emotions’ “Brothers,” awash with synth and ratcheting forward on live electronic drums. The moody “Bad Situations” followed, again nicely featuring live electronic drums and Emm’s breaking croon.

Mixed Emotions’ “Green Grass” enlivened the set with its crackling beat, and Cohen pointed out it was their fifth show as a four-piece before playing dreamy power-ballad “Two Thousand Miles.” They closed by playing “Pieces,” Highlights’ pulsating opener, and the jungle-drumming, anthemic “Palace,” confidently changing up the energy but steadily building toward its more climactic songs. The set seemed to focus more on their rock songs and ballads, likely a divergence from their typical live set on this longer-than-usual Amoeba set, showing another side to a band that is more diverse than it gets credit for.

See more photos from the set here.

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