Time Capsules II


We caught up with Brad Oberhofer just as he was just about to order his lunch at a Roly Poly sandwich shop in Atlanta. Nice guy that he is, he was amenable to letting us decide for him.

CG: How’s it going?

BO: It’s good man, we just played a college radio session and we’re at a place about to order some sandwiches. I’ve been staring at the menu for about ten minutes and I can’t decide between two.

CG: What are the choices?

BO: Well there’s the Hickory Christo, which has melted brie and Swiss cheese, spinach, mushrooms, tomato. It’s grilled, with a side of fresh dill horseradish sauce. And then there’s the Greek sandwich with baby spinach, tomato, onion, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, light feta, and sundried tomato basil dressing.

CG: I think anytime you can get something that horseradish on it, you’ve got go with horseradish.

BO: You think so?

CG: You find precious few sandwiches with horseradish on them. That sounds like a delight.

BO: That does sound really good. And it’s a hot sandwich. I think that is exactly what I’m going to get. Alright. I’m in line, sorry.

CG: How’s the tour with Matt & Kim going?

BO: Oh man, it’s so great right now. I mean, we’re getting along extremely well. Everyone in their crew is extremely accommodating. It’s great. This is probably the most rewarding tour so far that we’ve been on.

CG: I don’t know if you can come up with two acts that seem to enjoy playing live as much as you guys do. It’s an amazing pairing.

BO: Exactly. I think it’s great.

CG: How was your first 9:30 Club experience?

BO: Dude, it was amazing. Playing there for two nights – everyone, the whole crew at the 9:30 Club was the best most accommodating crew we’ve ever encountered. One second…

(He orders the Hickory Christo on wheat, and water. For here. Name’s “Brad.”)

BO: Sorry. Everyone else is eating so I gotta order now. Won’t be ready for a while though.

LIVE: Oberhofer @ The 9:30 Club - 10/9/12

All photos by Joy Asico (joy@chunkyglasses.com / www.asicophotos.com )

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!).

LIVE: Oberhofer @ The Black Cat - 6/6/12

With hair borrowed from Phil Lynott and shirts borrowed from “Weird Al” Yankovic, you’d think more people would know Brad Oberhofer by sight. However, not once but twice was I asked “Is that Oberhofer?” as the Danvilles played their opening set. While both bands were impressive, it’s a safe bet that after this show no one in the Black Cat crowd will be making that mistake again.

Kicking off their set with a raw, aggressive version of “Gotta Go,” Oberhofer (Brad named the band after himself) was inundated with camera flashes as he bounced across the stage and attacked his guitar. Perhaps spending much of his early songwriting career cooped up in a bedroom recording on a laptop has made Oberhofer that much more excitable when he plays live – even for a 21 year-old he seems to have boundless energy, frequently jumping off drum risers, kicking amplifiers, and sneering into the microphone.

TONIGHT!!! Oberhofer @ The Black Cat!

Like Dylan leaving Hibbing to seek out Woodie Guthrie, the story that may follow Brad Oberhofer for his entire career is the one where he moves from Tacoma to New York and begins recording infectious pop songs in a bedroom that was (presumably) covered with Arcade Fire and Beach Boys posters. He starts emailing songs to whoever asks for them, puts out a few 7” singles, and the next thing you know he’s labelmates with Phoenix and Mumford & Sons, and Steve Lillywhite is producing his debut record.

It’s a nice if simplified back-story, but it doesn’t do justice the music that his band, Oberhofer, is making now.

For one thing, that narrative often leaves out that Oberhofer (the man) has degrees in music theory and composition from NYU (where he wrote and recorded the bulk of his bedroom ditties). That level of skill shows on Oberhofer (the band’s) debut album, Time Capsules II, which layers dozens of tracks and instruments (including that ubiquitous xylophone) upon each other to create a glorious cacophony that, while sometimes overwhelming, is catchy as hell.

The four-piece group that will appear at the Black Cat tonight (Oberhofer and bandmates Pete Sustaric, Matt Scheiner, and Ben Roth) don’t replicate the complex sounds of Time Capsules during their live shows, but rather speed up the slow songs, turn up the quiet songs, and provide boundless energy to their increasingly large crowds. And yes, they bring the xylophone.

This is a band that won't be playing downstairs at the Black Cat for $12 for too long, and tickets are still available, so see them now and say you knew them when.