Live: Califone, Fruit Bats, The One AM Radio @ Malibu Performing Arts Center, 5.03.7

All photos by David Greenwald

On Thursday, I saw a pretty excellent triple bill at the Malibu Performing Arts Center — The One AM Radio, Eric Johnson of Fruit Bats, and the incredible Califone (above).

The One AM Radio’s quiet atmospherics sounded great in the roomy, sit-down venue. Unfortunately the band went on a little earlier than expected (7:20 might as well be 8 a.m. in Los Angeles) and we missed a bit of the set.

Eric Johnson, playing without the rest of his band, strummed his way through a catchy if not particularly rousing set. No “Lives of Crime,” but he did play “Canyon Girl.”

Califone was by far the highlight of the night. The band has two percussionists (Keanu: “Whoa”) and attention to detail was fascinating. The secondary drummer might hold a bell up to the microphone, or give a shaker egg a single toss before switching to another instrument — dudes are that precise. It made you want to just watch the band as closely as you could, not knowing what would happen next, even during the longer, droning jams. The same jams are a little boring on record, at least to these ears. I’ve seen Califone live three times and probably listened to their records even less, but get them on a stage and they’re remarkable — perhaps the closest thing indie-folk has to an Ornette Coleman Quartet.

Was “Pink & Sour” scorching and amazing? Yes.

Califone – “Pink & Sour”: mp3
The One AM Radio – “Lest I Forget”: mp3
Fruit Bats – “Lives of Crime”: mp3


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