Capsule Review: IL ABANICO @ The Painted Lady (NXNE 2012)
I’m not going to start this review with a meandering introduction because I have one very important point get across; you have to check out IL ABANICO. Not having a ton of buzz going into NXNE, I caught this band primarily because I wanted to see the act after them, and I was digging the little recorded material of theirs I checked out beforehand.
I’m very glad I did, because IL ABANICO was easily one of my top three acts for all of NXNE – even when including the solid Yonge Dundas lineup on Saturday! Discovering amazing new acts in small venues is one of my favourite parts of NXNE (and CMW), and it translated into magic on the first day of the festival.
Here’s where I’m going to falter, because IL ABANICO is not the easiest band to describe. The Brooklyn-based act describes themselves as upbeat post-pop, which is probably the best brief descriptor I’m going to find. All stellar musicians, the band is definitely rooted in pleasing pop melodies and danceable rhythms, but they really turn that genre on its head by adding in some of the most inventive guitar and vocal lines that I’ve heard in a while. It perfectly straddles the line between being technical and very musically interesting while still being extremely accessible.
While all the band members were excellent, it was the interplay between guitarists Nicolas Losada and Silvio Vega that really stood out. Playing their clean guitars off each other, they often completed each other’s riffs, while the four-on-the-floor kick drum tied it all together.
With 3/5ths of the band originally from Columbia, at times they reminded me of EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY or SIGUR ROS, but more upbeat and with a slight Latin twist. I also heard THIS TOWN NEEDS GUNS in their approach to song structure and technicality.
Immediately following their set the crowd literally bum-rushed the stage to buy the band’s 2011 EP Crossing Colors (myself included). I heard more than one person describe them as “the best band they’ve ever seen.” They played a fair amount of newer material not even on that EP that was, in my opinion, even better; they’re due for a new release soon and I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled!
To understand what I’m talking about, download the free album below, multiply how cool that is by 5, and you have IL ABANICO’S stellar live show. Next time they make the trek to Toronto, you can be sure that I’ll be there – and you should be too.