Once you got past the little joke about the Deerhunter guy playing in the Hall of North American Mammals, Bradford Cox’s set on Friday night at the Natural History Museum in L.A. wasn’t terribly extraordinary. Performing in his solo permutation as Atlas Sound, Cox floated through a set of dreamy material from his sophomore album “Logos” armed with an acoustic guitar, harmonica, backing tracks and, not to be downplayed, the natural reverb of the old museum’s room.
- ||| Photos by Laurie Scavo
It was a hauntingly beautiful, though short of transcendent, way to pass the 9 o’clock hour on Friday. More, however, it was another rousing victory for the Natural History Museum’s monthly First Fridays series, which has proved successful at getting the hip kids out to an institution known for its fossils. Now if someone could only have coerced Cox into playing standing up. Seated as he was on the Hall’s temporary stage, Cox was only visible to a handful of fans up front. If you weren’t there, or if you weren’t 6-foot-9, the best vantage point was in the museum’s center atrium, where proceedings were projected on the walls, the acoustics were actually better and (ahem) you were closer to the bars.
Friday’s huge crowd included plenty of First Fridays first-timers, and they arrived early – if not for the spider-related tour and discussions on arachnids then for the opening set by the capitalization-challenged artist known as tUnE-yArDs, the nom de noise of ukulele-wielding Merrill Garbus. Her percussion-heavy experimental folk, with its heaping helping of yelping, sounds like a campfire exercise at Girl Scout summer camp. I know, I know – she must be serious; she paints her face with glitter. And they love her in New York. Not for me, but … vErY hApPy FoR hEr.
Your results may vary. Check out this video, courtesy of Spaceland Recordings: