Review: 20 Min Loop with Tartufi and the Mumlers at Bottom of the Hill
January 28, 2009
Written by Jake Butler
In the interest of full disclosure I must confess that I honestly believe the Mumlers are one of the best bands out of the Bay Area right now. They’ve got a style (and swagger) they can call all their own. When a night starts off with the Mumlers, I am undoubtedly one of the most stoked guys around.
The show was at Bottom of the Hill. Paraphrased from their instructions for bands the have posted on their website: Don’t show up expecting to get a draw from foot traffic. This venue is only for bands who’ve established themselves a bit and generate a draw themselves. Believe you me, the Mumlers, Tartufi, and 20 Minute Loop did not have the slightest problem garnering a draw.
The Mumlers played a great energy-infused set complete with fan favorite “Shake That Medication,” which spawns a dance to match the title, as well as “(Won’t You) Change Your Mind.” That song is yet to be released so I’m unsure of the title, but if you’ve seen them you’ll know what song I’m talking about.
What makes the Mumlers so exciting to me is the talent and contagious attitude that sneaks out not only from each member separately, but also from the group as a whole. Their secret weapon, Felix, normally on keys, wields a tambourine like a bat out of hell, taking no prisoners in his almost tribal display of tambo-virtuosity. Needless to say, I rarely found a moment when I was not smiling and/or dancing.
Following the Mumlers were Tartufi who I have heard much about but had yet to have seen. Coming from the Thread Productions collective, I knew they were going to be awesome. There is a certain mathematical quality to their music, similar to Tool in a sense. Comprised of Brian Gorman primarily on drums and Lynne Angel primarily covering guitar duties, Tartufi weaves an intensely layered soundscape built of loops from vocals, guitar, bass, synth, drum kit, percussionâ€¦I’m not even getting into specifics and you can understand these are two very talented individuals. At one point I saw Brian hammering out straight sixteenths on the snare with one hand and at a breakneck speed. The only other drummer I’ve seen do that was seasoned jazz drummer Jeff Hamilton.
Wrapping up the evening were Bay Area veterans 20 Minute Loop. Kelly Atkins has herself a young kid now – congrats Kelly! – and this was apparently the longest she’d been away at night in some time. For the sake of us all, you’ve got to get out more. 20ML were awesome. Their experience shown through during their performance. They were rock solid and damned entertaining.
The night came to embody more than the just music. It felt like a piece of something greater, the Bay Area music scene as a larger collective. I met Brian from Birds and Batteries (shameless plug: go see them at The Bay Bridged 3rd Birthday Bash, Rickshaw Stop Feb 5), while talking to Will of the Mumlers. Separately I met Jonny Latimer of the Aimless Never Miss and Built for the Sea, who I’m now planning on seeing next Thursday at Cafe Du Nord. Everybody was awesome and just amped to support other local musicians, who reciprocated that love vocally from the stage during their performances.
With the Noise Pop festival coming up right around the corner, clear your schedules and start breaking down the difficult choice of who to see on which night, because, my friends, there will be enough great music to satiate even the heartiest of appetites.