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Bug Jar, Rochester, NY – 05.03.08
Filter Grade: 88%
Hard rocking septet Le Loup ended their two-month-long tour in Rochester, NY’s Bug Jar. Don’t let the name fool you, not from France—as some ask upon hearing the name—the band hails from Washington, D.C.; the only European addition to this outfit is the occasional French horn. Meaning “fear not,” the band’s name was inspired by the artwork of James Hampton and after one year of solo efforts, just two years after the creation of Le Loup, Simkoff and the band of musicians he corralled are garnering a reputation for excellent, kinetic live shows. And this night, Le Loup definitely closed this tour with a loud and explosive bang.
A sizable crowd gathered at the Bug Jar to see what this D.C. band was capable of and the spectators were in for a good show. Members of Le Loup were scattered about the bar/club, taking in the sounds of the opening bands or enjoying a quiet drink till finally the moment came for them all to close the night. Sam Simkoff (Banjo, Keyboards, Lead Vocals), Christian Ervin (Computer, Guitar), Mike Ferguson (Guitar, Vocals), Nicole Keenan (Keyboards, French Horn, Vocals), Dan Ryan (Bass, Percussion, Vocals), Robert Sahm (Drums, Percussion, Vocals), May Tabol (Guitar, Vocals), and Jim Thomson (Guitar, Vocals) all managed to fit themselves and their gear on stage and leapt into their set.
Promoting their debut The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly—the title is also derived from a work by Hampton—Le Loup effortlessly blends their countless instruments (three electric guitars, one bass, a banjo, keyboards, French horn, drums, tambourines, drum machine and pedals) to create an electro-experimental sound that includes vocalized harmonies, hand claps, crunchy and airy guitars and even a drumstick banged on a water jug. That’s right, a jug; but somehow Le Loup makes it all meld perfectly together and creates a unique ethereal wave of music that rises and falls, complementing Simkoff’s vocal stylings.
Simkoff put on a passionate performance and could not stand still for the entire set as he feverishly danced and leaned into his mic. Like Simkoff, two audience members also had “dance fever” though their motivation may not have only been influenced by the music as they violently threw their bodies about for the entire performance. At times their “dancing” proved distracting to the performance taking place on the stage but Le Loup’s beautiful set drifted us away from those two. The band played from their debut as well as some unreleased songs and shelled out a great show as they cruised through such songs as, “Sea Took Me,” “To The Stars! To the Night!,” “We are Gods! We are Wolves!,” and “Outside of This Car, the End of the World.”
Le Loup closed the evening with the lengthy “I Had a Dream I Died,” Simkoff was not quite ready to end the song as he motioned to his band mates “one more.” He sang the last few words before pointing his finger in the air again and said, “one more” then he was ready to end the set. Simply listening to Le Loup’s fantastic debut does not do them justice, they are damn good live! The seven person strong band wonderfully balances quiet, emotive sounds with explosive crescendos that will pull at the heart strings and make you want to dance simultaneously.