Sunday, July 17, 2011

25. Seryn at Club Dada, 7/16/11

 25. Seryn, at Dada.

The serene siren sounds of Seryn.

The last band on Saturday's bill at Club Dada was Denton's own Seryn, which came to prominence when it was named Favorite Act at this year's SxSW by Paste.  Seryn is, for want of a better description, an orchestral folk-rock indie band, boasting five members and at least two hipster-outdoorsman beards.  They are precious enough to list themselves as "Papa Bear," "Baby Bear," and "Goldilocks" on their Facebook page, play a lot of instruments, and seem to eschew genre labels.

This was probably the most popular band of the night.  All the acts had their fans, but when Seryn came on, the area around the stage really got packed.  There was also lots of drunken screaming, those incoherent shouts you hear at a certain kind of show which signify vague inexpressible approval, from a crowd obviously longing to be a part of Seryn's musical journey.

R characterized Seryn's set as harmony-heavy folk-rock, a sort of CSNY with violin, cello, and banjo.  There were long slow crashing waves of sound, crested by cymbal percussion, and over it all, long drawn-out syllables of vocalization that we didn't understand very well, if indeed it was made up of words.  When the vocals were slowed down a bit, they sounded a bit like Iron & Wine. 

All the members of Seyrn were clearly enjoying themselves, and everyone demonstrated strong musical proficiency.  Chelsea Bohrer seemed to be responsible for a disproportionately large slice of their particular sound --- metallic percussion and high scraping violin strings.  Their music is orchestral, yes, but energetic and fun; danceable indie-folk.  Certainly, the crowd ate it up.  We were not drawn in, however.  Maybe it was four-bands-in-a-row fatigue; maybe the artsy lavishness of it all made it unappealing.  Whatever the reason, we acknowledged Seryn's talents and stood back, slightly bored.

In sum: Judging by the crowd they attracted, Seryn has certainly benefited from the Paste accolade, but the flip side of hype is expectations raised too high.  They weren't as amazing as the hype has it (but who is?); indeed, they're an impressive group of musicians.  But what they make together seemed unremarkable to us.  We weren't dying to explore their sound, and likely won't go out of our way to seek it out.

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