As the host of The Math Lab, KLSU's dedicated math rock and noise rock show, I figured I should at least see one (hopefully more) bona fide math-y band perform if I'm going to assume the position of math rock expert. Naturally, when I saw Tera Melos and Speedy Ortiz launching a tour in support of of Tera Melos' new album Trash Generator (check out my review for it here) I immediately bought my ticket and prepared for an absolutely wicked performance.
Friday night, November 10 at around 10:00 PM, New Orleans math rockers Matron kicked off the show at Gasa Gasa with a ripping opening set. Although this was only their third performance, they brought tons energy and excitement to the moderately undersized crowd. Nonetheless, they set the mood for the rest of the night and got everyone excited for what was to come.
I'll have to be honest, I have never really listened to Speedy Ortiz, but this show absolutely changed my mind on the band. Their 45 minute set was a torrent of poppy yet math charged songs that filled the venue to the brim. Frontwoman Sadie Dupuis candidly joked with the audience, and made the room feel a lot smaller, in a good way. Their performance was intimate and full of unexpected ventures into new regions of alternative rock that I have never been too keen on.
I waited front row for Tera Melos to begin as Speedy Ortiz broke down their gear and carried it off stage. I briefly spoke to John Clardy, drummer for Tera Melos, and watched him set up his kit next to Nick Reinhart's impossibly complex pedal boards. From an equipment standpoint, Tera Melos is loaded to the gills with enough guitar and bass effects to make any guitarist's jaw drop. Nick was also in control of an SP-404 sampler, which he integrated into many of his unbelievably loud and chaotic guitar solos. Based off their gear alone, I could tell this performance was going to be very loud, and very mathy.
Tera Melos' incredibly diverse set was filled with material from all of their studio albums, including some deep cuts off earlier EPs. A majority of the songs were tracks off Trash Generator, with occasional rarities like "Treasures and Trolls". Despite the energy and atmosphere, the crowd was quite tame (I think a majority of people came for Speedy Ortiz). Nonetheless, they brought down the house with a nonstop torrent of music. Every song ended with an improvised noisy breakdown and then immediately launched into the next track. There was no time to catch your breath, cheer, or even throw up devil horns. It was complete mathematical madness.
After 11 songs, the band launched into their version of the Devo song "Smart Patrol" (while performing on Halloween night the band dressed in full Devo regalia for this one, sadly, not on this night). The goofy bounce of the song fit in perfectly with Tera Melos' sound and direction, and didn't even sound like they were covering a song. Finally, they finished their set with "Spoonful of Slurry", one of the tracks off their debut EP Drugs To The Dear Youth that helped put Tera Melos on the math rock map. I lost my damn mind during this one.
All three bands were absolutely incredible, and it was hands down the most fun I ever had seeing a band perform live. I spoke to drummer John Clardy afterwards (and even recorded a station ID!), and very briefly to Nick Reinhart, which capped off my evening. If you have a chance to see Tera Melos, Speedy Ortiz, or Matron; please take the opportunity. You will not regret it.