Even the most interesting, layered instrumentation can fall victim to technology.

Photo of Menomena

Dynamics are a powerful thing, and Menomena knows it. Last night, the Portland-based indie rock outfit played to a packed One Eyed Jacks. What gave the show its life, pulling in the audience when they’d start to drift off, was the music's ups and downs.

Frontmen Justin Harris and Danny Seim swapped out instruments frequently, and three other instrumentalists backed them on stage. But their music almost became repetitive in nature, if not for the frequent change of pace that gave the listener something to hold onto. Songs would trail off into a quick sax solo, only to rise up again. Or the tinkling piano would take over, a riff sounding out into silence mid-song. The band always came crashing back in.

The downside to these dynamics? Relying on a computer to pull it off. A necessary rebooting of their computer mid-set forced the lead singer to ask the audience if they had any jokes to share. It was mildly awkward.