It should be hard to open for Matt & Kim, a duo firmly established at the top of the ever-expansive Brooklyn music scene, but apparently no one told Brad Oberhofer that he should be nervous. Currently touring with his self-named band - and if your last name is “Oberhofer” you should get the reward of naming your band after yourself for having to spell that 10,000 times just to get a pizza delivered - Oberhofer strode onstage at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday night like he owned the place. By the end of a tight and scortchy set of songs off his debut album Time Capsules II, we’d be hard pressed not to agree.
The first half was loud-loud-loud-in-yer-face RAWK - and please note that as I was typing my notes during the show, my phone autocorrected ‘rawk’ to ‘RAWK’ which from now on will be known as the Oberhofer Effect - and the band’s sheer volume of music was a better fit for the venue than for their previous run through town in June when they played a backstage show at Black Cat. Midway through the set Brad left the stage, a split-second later appearing on the right-hand balcony with his guitar and a shit-eating grin that wowed the figurative pants off the packed upper deck (more on loss of pants, and the constant threat thereof, in the Matt & Kim review - stay tuned, kids!).
Back on stage a minute later, he and his bandmates tore through selections like the 80s-esque freak-out “Landline,” which swung for the fences and got the entire crowd revved into overdrive, and “HEART” - during the rare quiet moments in the show, including parts of “HEART,” the crowd shouted out tracks from the album, so even in a sold-out Matt & Kim show Oberhofer has devoted superfans. Brad said this is the band’s sixth show with Matt & Kim, so they must be doing something right.
“Away Frm U” - and yes, that’s how you spell/write it - found a few quiet spots where the audience could finally hear the sparkly glockenspiel; everyone sang along with lyrics like “I can't fight all of your battles for you,” but we lost him on the whistling portions of the song. AFU ping pongs between spastic guitar lines, pleading lyrics, a bit of quiet whistling, the glockenspiel, and then launches back to manic guitars. It’s bi-polar, it’s awesome, and Oberhofer knows it - the smile on his face while he alternated between thrashing about doing David Lee Roth kicks and singing/crooning/whistling bespoke the sort of pride that can only come from seeing something you created poured out to an audience, only to have it poured right back at you.
Oberhofer’s music encapsulates a mix of 70s all-out rock with 80s glam, and if you’re ever nostalgic for a decade-bender of a show you’d be well served to head out the next time Oberhofer comes to town - dang if it isn’t like an omelette filled with XTC and Stone Roses, with a bit of Husker Du thrown in for crunch. And “Cruisin’ FDR” is what would result if Joey and Dee Dee Ramone met the Beach Boys’ Carl and Dennis Wilson in the afterlife.
Oberhofer closed with “Gold,” which isn’t exactly the strongest closing song, but that's a faint criticism compared to the talent displayed in this guy/band. Brad yelled in a hoarse voice “We love it here, it's our biggest show - but we're really tired!” and confidently ran off the stage he’d owned for 50 or so minutes. Time Capsules II has a quasi-arty sort of construction to it, but for the live show the band strips it all down and just rocks the crap out of everything, leaving you thinking “who the Hell IS this guy?” As we’ve said before, and hope to keep saying for the next hundred years, up-and-comers gotta keep coming up.