It is tough to tell what you’re going to get from a Buke and Gase show. Their sound is so unique - owing to their practice of using homemade hybrid instruments like the “toe-bourine” and, of course, the eponymous ”buke” and “gase”– that one can never be entirely sure what they will be bringing to the table on any given night. However, the three things you can count on are: (1) it will be a one of a kind experience; (2) you will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how exactly two people manage to generate that much sound with those weird instruments; and (3) Arone Deyer’s voice will blow you away.
What the audience got last Wednesday at DC9 was an eclectic, high energy set that spanned the breadth of Buke and Gase’s growing catalog, from last year’s standout Riposte to the recently released Function Falls, as well as new material from the band’s forthcoming LP General Dome. Indeed, the band seemed to be experimenting with their material, eschewing the traditional concert flow (and overt promotion of their new EP) in favor of looser, more discursive sonic experiments. This style was a perfect fit for the intimate upstairs space at DC9. With no traditional stage to separate the audience from the performers, the near capacity crowd pressed close to the two musicians, shouting out encouragement and suggestions and giving the evening the air of an impromptu basement jam session. And of course, Deyer’s singular voice carried over it all, elevating the band’s iconoclastic melodies to inspirational heights.
Like Function Falls itself, this show clearly found the band in a transitional phase. They were clearly experimenting, test driving new material, and just generally having fun playing what they wanted to play in front of an enthusiastic crowd. It is that playful, unpredictable spirit that makes Buke and Gase so much fun to listen to. And, if the last Wednesday’s set is any indication, that experimental spirit should be alive and well on the new album.