Memory Tapes third U.S. date in support of recent album Player Piano (QRO review) came to Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge on July 20th. Tapes’ main man and only full-time member Dayve Hawk enlisted a rhythm section and some backing tracks for this tour. Opening with the subdued "Yes I Know", Hawk used his guitar for some of the keyboard parts found on the recorded version and it made a for nice change. However the coda of the song lost the circus-like keyboard/organ of the studio version for a very squelching keys section that had some people cringing. Despite this, the band slowly took things up a notch reminding everyone that the band does indeed have some Cut Copy (QRO live review) chops.
"Green Knight" from their 2009 debut Seek Magic was given an evenhanded surf guitar intro and prerecorded horns that got the crowd moving. Gone was the subdued bedroom recorded feel of the original version. Coupled with the spiraling projected images shrouding the band, this track took the night into dance territory. "Stop Talking" continued this theme as it was shortened up from its seven minute recorded version and then segued into an equally edited "Plain Material". This served to give the tracks much more of a punch.
At this point the night took a decided turn. Hawk and his band decided to up the ante and take things to an epic level turning "Wait In The Dark", an economical 4:17 on Player Piano, into a club-shaking seven minutes and ten seconds. And to prove they intended to keep their foot on the gas pedal, "Today Is Our Life" was also given an extended run. The audience had been waiting for this song and the band did not disappoint. The only real disappointment was that they only played two more songs ("Trance Sisters" and "Bicycle"), wrapping up the nine-song show at about the one-hour mark. With the audience yelling out requests for "Bicycle" and receiving it, the band walked off the stage with a thank you from Hawk.
Though some of the keyboard aspects of the Player Piano were replaced by Hawk’s guitar, it actually showed how good of a player he is, in the mold of Cut Copy’s Dan Whitford when he plays guitar. If Hawk and Memory Tapes continue to write, play longer shows and, perhaps, actually become a stable band unit, there’s no telling where this band could go. It’s still early in the game, but Hawk is in control of the band’s destiny.