Dave's right, last night's show deserves all the ink we can spare. It was epic. At least two reviews epic, so here's my added two cents:
Regarding the Field as live band: The first song that really showed off the live band was "Leave It," on with it's low, humming bass guitar groove and its echoing glockenspiel, the latter of which seemed to loop and vary on a different time signature than the rest of the song, resetting and rearranging in odd ways. I have to say though that, with the exception of one moment when the rest of the band dropped out, you never really heard the live drums. As much as the live instrumentation has really opened the Field's songs up—there's really a subtle newfound depth to the new album—the core of Axel Willner's tracks are still his breathy, misted samples, which Willner controlled last night with the use of a hardware sampler. What I love about the Field is how he makes the small changes feel so monumental. He'll be working one hypnotic loop for minutes, and then he'll just, like, nudge the loop point forward half a second to catch a different fragment of sound, and it totally changes the whole tone (this was especially true of the tracks from Sublime)—it's minimalist, but once you get into it the payoffs are so great. (A friend suggests that you have to have done E to really "get" the Field, and cliche as it is, he may be right—last night certainly felt right ecstatic.) Also, second the total kick-starting power of "The Little Heart Beats So Fast," with it's insistent drum machine beat and sampled "uh," its floating vocals and percolating acid bass line—holy shit, that one lit the place up.
I'd never seen the Field as a live band before, and it was a pleasant surprise. No surprise with The Juan Maclean, though, who I had seen before as a live band and who I knew would tear the roof off the fucker last night. Dude's theremin skills are silly. Nancy Whang's presence on the mic is totalitarian. Jerry Fuchs is such a fucking machine of a drummer—give the drummer a break, Juan—he should start an instructional video series (possibly to be called "Fuchsing Around with Jerry Fuchs"). "Happy House" was indeed an unreal epic, peaking more times than should be physically/mathematically possible for a single track. "Give Me Every Little Thing" and "One Day" were outstanding as well, the former remains one hell of an aerobic electro funk jam, the latter boasts the best orchestral stabs of 2009—I could really use a remix of this song that just loops that break for like nine minutes (seems like something the Field could pull off, no?). Most surprising for me was "No Time," which, on record, kind of blends in amongst the several excellent electro pop numbers; last night, though, Maclean and Whang's cold back-and-forth, and especially Whang's taunting chorus, were just totally convincing. Bodies are made for moving.