Live Review: The Dodos and Cuckoo Chaos at Sushi Art, November 6, 2010

The Dodos

The cuckoo and the dodo get no love. When your respective claims to fame are being crazy and extinct, it’s hard to get your due respect. Luckily, the same can’t be said for Cuckoo Chaos and The Dodos, who attracted a sold-out crowd to the third night of Sezio‘s 4 Day Weekend concert series.

San Diego’s Cuckoo Chaos opened with their wry, soothing rock. The boys have been on a hot streak lately, having recently signed to Lefse Records, and their performance was executed with a focused, understated confidence. The five-piece oscillated between restrained pop and epic instrumentals, often within the same song. Cuckoo Chaos deftly handled the latter digressions, making full use of their three guitars and the snap, crackle, and pop of David Mead’s drumming.

From the surf-rocking “Exit Strategy” to the Mexicali highlight “Possessed by a Corpse,” each composition sizzled. But the most exciting moments in the set came when band members Jackson Milgaten and Jeremy Scott joined front man Scott Wheeler in singing, such as during the infectious Japanese gibberish of set-closer “Self Titled.” Adding more moments like that to their routine would really help Cuckoo Chaos soar.

Headliners The Dodos didn’t shy away from harmonies. Stationed side by side at the front of the stage, guitarist Meric Long and drummer Keaton Snyder sang almost every note together. Long’s use of acoustic guitar is one of the band’s hallmarks, so it was a surprise to see him playing an electric instead. The switch detracted from The Dodos’ full sound and rustic feel, but Long’s banjo-like playing remained as impressive as ever.

Even more impressive was the palpable feeling of excitement in the air. The show was held at Sushi Art in the East Village — a former warehouse converted into a giant living room — and the intimate setting seemed to energize the crowd. The comfy couches, reasonably priced booze, and formidable lineup all bore the distinctive Sezio touch. It’s precisely that kind of attention to detail that has turned the non-profit into one of the San Diego music scene’s most cherished fixtures.

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