Earthless / Tortoise @ The Troubadour; Los Angeles, CA

July 14, 2009

My concert attendance has been so haphazzard lately, when I look at listings I feel like I’m high and could possibly make some really bad decisions. The only shows I want to see are “safe” bands I’ve seen before, who will not disappoint me. The prospect of taking a chance on something new, or going anywhere to see anyone else in this town is pretty much a wasted effort. Is it possible for me to get even more jaded about how shitty music is, and how predictable, boring, and offensive LA’s “scene” is? I guess the answer is “No”. I went see Earthless for the sixth or seventh time, as they opened for Tortoise. Tortoise is a safe band, they will never suck, even if I haven’t really felt strongly about a lot of the material on their more recent albums. The chance to hear anything the band recorded between ’94 and ’01 is enough to convince me that I should go.

I’ve never been to The Troubadour before because, well, how many bands that I like are going to play a club sitting on the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills? I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sebastian left my tickets at the door, and shortly after I got mine I caught Erin driving by out of the corner of my eye. We agreed to meet inside. Got a drink and took in Earthless. They’re getting super tight. Amazing drumming as always. Isaac got himself a nice Orange stack, and the volume was cranked up ridiculously loud. Even at the bar on the opposite side of the floor, shit was screaming out of those amps at deafening levels. The band played for about 40 or 50 minutes. I think there were one or two pauses in between tunes, which meant they got through two or three “songs” in that amount of time.

Tortoise was as good — if not better — than expected. I got two tracks from Millions Now Living Will Never Die, including an encore of “Djed.” The other track was the beautiful “Glass Museum.” How fucking cool is that? Is there such a thing as excessive use of vibrophones? No. One can never add too much vibraphone to a song. Two drummers? A little bit harder to pull off without looking stupid and sounding bad, but Tortoise pulled that one off as well. In all, the band was super tight, the low-end was intense enough to feel in your chest, and the new material didn’t suck! I’d say the concert was a success. Maybe next time I see a band of indie rock stalwarts is in town to promote a new album, I won’t laughingly dismiss the idea of seeing them.

Earthless – Cherry Red
Tortoise – Glass Museum


  1. Erin

    Um… you forgot to mention that Tortoise also played my favorite song, “Monica”, we said hello (or more so ME) to the Earthless drummer and told him that he kicked ass, I blew John McEntyre, and the Troubadour actually houses many bands there that you’d probably like to see. Trans Am kicked ass in ’07.

  2. […] good at what they do. When I moved to LA and would see them around with bands like Ancestors, Tortoise or Titan, drummer Mario Rubalcaba was the guy I simply couldn’t look away from. Much like the […]

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