Other Lives Show Off Their Unique Sound at Kung Fu Necktie
- Stillwater, Oklahoma’s Other Lives are so unique that they must be seen to truly be understood. The band has recently toured with the likes of The National, The Decemberists, and Bon Iver, but now are headlining a tour of their own. When this tour wraps up, they go on to play in arenas for the first time, opening for Radiohead. On Saturday night, they dazzled the audience at Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia with their blend of indie rock and orchestral folk music. The band perfectly performed songs from their newest album, Tamer Animals, with all six musicians on stage playing two to three instruments, sometimes switching mid-song. The songs stayed similar to the original arraignments, with new interludes written to beautifully flow from one song into the next. Some songs, such as “As I Lay My Head Down”, are very percussion heavy, while “For 12” shows off Other Lives’ masterful skill of harmonization. The band didn’t need any fancy lights or video displays to keep the crowd entertained. It is refreshing to see a band who really seemed to be enjoying themselves, and that energy was fed to all at Kung Fu Necktie.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with lead singer Jesse Tabish about the band’s future plans. He told me “Radiohead are a prime example, in my opinion, of a band that has worked and stayed a band for all of the right reasons, and has continued to write challenging music. I’m excited to see them every night. I think the whole thing will be a real growing experience for me and the band. It’s a great accomplishment. I think we’re looking forward to having that challenge of taking what we do and being able to project it in an effective way to a large audience. It’s going to be something that the band will be looking forward to. It’s a growing process.”
After being on the road for eight months, and the future seeming to promise even more touring for the band, I questioned about how the road affects the bands songwriting. “It does greatly. Since we have done these two records about the Oklahoma landscape, we’re seeing a real change in us, being alone for so long makes you look at how similar a van is to Oklahoma. The pace of travel and being transient and that rush seeps into some of the new music witch is a little more rapid. I would never say that these are songs written about being on the road. It’s more about what’s composed and being conscious of the whole thing.”
In today’s age, anyone with a laptop can consider themselves a musician. I asked Jesse if he sees the computer as an instrument or a songwriting tool. “Well, that’s kind of the beauty of it. It can be what you want it to be. It’s both for us. I currently have someone next to me writing right now. When we play tonight we will be playing Abelton live running all of the loops. It’s both definitely.”
Since Tamer Animals is such a multi-layered album, I asked Jesse about how they re-create it live. “Looping is a big part of the set. It gives us more hands than we actually have. It’s become necessary because a lot of those things are on the record, and we don’t have a nine person ensemble to do all that stuff.”
On the current state of vinyl records, Jesse said “I think a lot of people are coming back to vinyl just because it has the romance to it that CDs don’t. I just think it is that physical process with the record and also it forces you to have a little bit of patience. With an MP3, I even do it. In the middle of one song I can go to another song, there are so many options. With a record, you are stuck with the … there’s the A side and the B side. I love how that’s how it is meant to be. People are getting back to that idea a little bit.”
After Other Lives’ time with Radiohead, they will continue on the road in Europe for summer festivals, and then come back to the United States for another headlining tour this fall. They are not to miss!
Opening for Other Lives was Australia’s WIM. The five piece rock band have been described as “Rufus Wainwright fronting Grizzly Bear” and that is pretty accurate. Their songs were full of reverb and plenty of vocal harmonies. WIM’s combination of organic tribal drums along with Synths were enough to make me want to hear more.