On Friday, mellow, indietronic popsters +/- (pronounced “plus minus”) of Brooklyn headlined a concert at The Knitting Factory, an all-ages three-floor venue in Tribeca. Opening for +/- was band The Moools (superfluous third o and all) hailing from Japan.
The Moools, a buoyant and infectiously excitable three-man band, had an experimental rock, Talking Heads sound, and an upbeat, almost school-girlish energy uncommon in current rock performers. A standout track of theirs was the absolutely beautiful “Bunsuirei,” a song about ‘understanding’ or ‘dividing’ ‘you, me, and the sea’. However, the real highlight of the set was the Moools’ adorable frontman who read aloud English phrases he had written on his hand, bounced around onstage, and welcomed audience hugs. (I was surprised to learn that members of the Moools had worked with guitarist Franz Prichard of yume bitsu, whose fourth album I bought on a whim two years ago, and ended up becoming one of my favorites.)
+/-‘s set was decidedly less lively, featuring a mellow, atmospheric sound similar to, but less pop than Death Cab for Cutie. Thankfully the music moved around enough to keep the set interesting. Even as they played with a surrogate drummer, +/- proved to be musically competent and tight, which was essential during their songs that have time signatures of 5 and 7. Incredibly attractive band members further added to the band’s appeal: +/- could possibly become a favorite of female music enthusiasts and a prominent fixture in the indie music scene. Personally, +/- was too bland for my tastes— but then again, I’m also a fan of obtrusively pink cheetah print, and not so much a fan of subtlety.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised, especially considering I hadn’t heard of either of the bands prior to the concert. Ten bucks well spent.