Le Loup: Live last night

le loup

Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna

Le Loup had a lot going on Saturday at the Black Cat, where the potpourri-rock quintet ended a national tour with a hometown show.

Singer and frontman Sam Simkoff alternately strummed an autoharp, sang into two microphones simultaneously and punched buttons on a digital sampler. Members swapped guitars, basses, cowbells and various analog rhythmic devices all night long. And at one point during "Family," the lead track of the band's second and latest CD, Simkoff was surrounded by three guitarists on their knees, twisting knobs on effects boxes as bizarre sounds swirled. Yet Simkoff still found time to lose himself in the music and fire up the crowd with an endearing hippie-hippie-shake across the stage.

(A sound that's hard to nail down but goes down easy, after the jump.)

Le Loup's song styles were as hard to nail down as its hardware, though no tune lacked for artistic ambition. "Grow" started with a Phil Spector drum sample, then morphed into a Far East-sounding surf tune, sort of what the Beach Boys could have come up with had they grown up in the shadows of the Great Wall instead of searching for the perfect wave. "Go East" also melded hemispheres and influences, with hints of both Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and traditional klezmer.

Yet no matter how many odd ingredients Simkoff and the rest of the band threw into the mix, the crowd ate up everything served. The show ended with the whole room shaking together to "Sherpa," as Simkoff put down his gadgets and stepped away from the sampler, picked up some sticks and led a drum trio that was as tribal as it was irresistible. Thinking big is a risky lot in rock-and-roll. Le Loup pulls it off.

By David Malitz |  November 9, 2009; 10:18 AM ET Live Last Night , Local News
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