On the tail end of their spring tour, Eluvium graced the Jackpot's stage last Friday night in Lawrence. Eluvium's creator Matthew Cooper's infrequent vocals, synthesized guitar and keyboard were delicate and gradual. His compositions were enriched with Eric Macey's instrumentation (comprised of a small bowl which he hit like a gong) and Charles Stanyan's MacBook, creating a backstage act turned to the front of the stage.
The set felt like soaring very slowly through Matthew Cooper's mind. People sat on the floor and clapped after each song. The three keyboards were arranged in a circle, facing toward each other instead of the audience, as if the inner structure was more important for the band than being seen. But Eluvium was very welcoming. The audience's view of their shoulders was not threatening. They popped their knuckles between songs and thanked the bartender after he replaced an empty beer. Before starting a song Cooper said, "If you've ever heard a man try, here it is."
Often there were no vocals, no harmony, and the music sounded like feedback from an amplifier before plugging in a guitar. Dependent on echoes, Eluvium was like a technical lullaby; but it wasn't for everyone. (My friends left early, complaining that they kept thinking they were going to fall asleep and saying things like, "Who do these guys think they are? Some kind of magical wizards of the synthesizer?" and "There are too many dicks in here.")
People slowly gravitated toward the front of the stage. Cooper used only his right hand at times to play and the whole band tapped their feet to different melodies, laughing and looking at each other for cues. People eventually started to sway as Cooper sang, "The energy in all the things that I touch / controlling my mind make me think too much."
I'm grateful I didn't need earplugs.