Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Psych-folk hero Amen Dunes finally comes to Orlando and shines his curious diamond

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 10:42 AM

click to enlarge Amen Dunes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Amen Dunes at the Social
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Amen Dunes and Arthur, The Social, Jan. 21

Amen Dunes finally came to Orlando. In its ongoing mutation, the eminent project of Damon McMahon has in recent years been racking up serious indie cred with a string of critically acclaimed albums on Sacred Bones and a history of smart, purposeful and high-profile collaborations like with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who were essentially his backing band on his previous album (2014’s Love).
click to enlarge Amen Dunes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Amen Dunes at the Social
Amen Dunes has been in a period of dramatic development recently, showcasing a sound of more clarity and form than ever. But not only has McMahon’s oblique streak remained intact, it’s been given a new level of depth and dimension. Now, his psych-folk, besides being bigger than the confines of that genre, paints a whole world that’s halcyon, bewitching and bathed in deep, gorgeous hues.
click to enlarge Amen Dunes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Amen Dunes at the Social
click to enlarge Amen Dunes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Amen Dunes at the Social
In concert, that craft was honored by an exceptional five-piece band with the sophistication, mastery and restraint to render these songs with all the supreme atmosphere and space they deserve.
click to enlarge Amen Dunes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Amen Dunes at the Social
click to enlarge Amen Dunes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Amen Dunes at the Social
In the middle of all this rich instrumental tapestry, McMahon beamed with his trademark quivering resonance, casting all in a light both bright and bent. His step may be relatively more accessible now, but nothing here dims his outsider flame. It’s just a wider, more beckoning portal into the woozy and wondrous realm of Amen Dunes. And with ace playing by a great band and McMahon’s presence, all that warped allure was alive on stage.
click to enlarge Amen Dunes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Amen Dunes at the Social
Also, serious love to McMahon for requesting that the house turn off the advertising TV screens behind the bar during their otherwise immersive performance. And credit to the staff for immediately obliging. It’s an ask that more featured artists should make.
click to enlarge Arthur at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Arthur at the Social
Opening tourmate Arthur, who came backed by a lively full band, is a young Philadelphia artist who deals in a kind of curious pop that manages the feat of being melodic and breezy without being easy or predictable. The songs skip, flutter and shine but never in ways expected or conventional. Each nugget comes on with spirited immediacy, then surprises as often as it hooks, and then is gone before you quite figure out its spell.
click to enlarge Arthur at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Arthur at the Social
click to enlarge Arthur at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Arthur at the Social
click to enlarge Arthur at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Arthur at the Social
Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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