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all words: Andy Hess
all photos: Brandon Hirsch

There’s only one problem seeing The Dodos and The Ruby Suns live: If you aren’t paying attention, it’s hard to discern one song from the other. You can pick out the hits that graced terrible tasting beer and even worse operating system ads (“Fools” and “Oh, Mojave!” respectively), but when it comes to the deep cuts it’s hard to tell what you were listening too.

But that might have been the sound — which was generally muddy most of the night — that was causing my hearing problems. So, maybe there were two problems seeing these two bands. Regardless of sound woes and similar songs, The Dodos and The Ruby Suns played impressive shows that kept the sold out crowd entertained throughout the night.

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Auckland, New Zealand’s The Ruby Suns were first out of the gate with their blend of Beach Boys gone Animal Collective inspired pop gems. While they played a number of songs off of their latest release 2008’s Sea Lion, they spent the majority of their set playing new songs off their tentatively titled 2010 release Fight Softly.


The Ruby Suns’ best songs — live at least — are the one’s where they step away from the samples and synths and use the analog instruments: floor toms, cowbells, wood blocks and cymbals. The heavily sample based songs are good, but there’s something about watching an artist step away from the electronics that makes the show more enjoyable.

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If you were disappointed by The Dodos latest release Time To Die, you shouldn’t be. While the songs sound overproduced and polished on the record, they roar and are this close to coming unhinged live. I think that’s why I preferred 2007’s Visiter. The Dodos played crowd pleasers “Fools”, “Fables” and “Troll Nacht” — with the last one of those three with the lights off and glowing red, green and blue lights attached to the band members respective hands. While “Fools” received the most applause, it was the band’s encore — complete with “Walking”, “Red And Purple” and the killer transition found on the album — that might be the reason this band is blowing up. Or it could be the fact that they’re a solid band on tape and an even better one live.

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