Review and photos – Hundred Waters at Electric Owl, Vancouver, Feb. 18 2015
– by Taisuke Tanimura/photos by Kirk Chantraine
Hundred Waters is a band whose sound is very hard to describe. In an era where everything is meticulously labelled and categorized, this is something of a minor miracle. Pitchfork.com called it “digital folk” but that’s only really part of the picture. Skrillex signed them to his OWLSLA label, on which they have released both of their albums.
They’ve opened for Interpol. Plaid, Shigeto and Illangelo have remixed their tracks. Their song “Show Me Love” was featured in a Superbowl ad for Coca-Cola this year. One of my friends describes them as “Bjork meets Fleet Foxes.”
Like I said, hard to pin down.
Formed in 2011, the quartet from Florida made their debut in 2012 with their excellent self-titled album. The debut grabbed Skrillex’s attention, and Hundred Waters took part in his Full Flex Express Canadian Train Tour which eventually landed them on OWLSLA.
Last May they released their second album The Moon Rang Like A Bell to more critical acclaim. Their sound exists somewhere at a fertile intersection of folk, trip-hop, indie and chamber pop. On both their albums, the atmosphere is soft and subdued with a heavy focus on singer Nicole Miglis‘ voice.
Live, however, there was much more emphasis on rhythm, which revealed the interesting time signatures and syncopation hiding in each song. Drummer Zach Tereault was the beating heart of the group, laying down some impressive rhythms with metronomic precision.
The first half of their set included “Out Alee”, “Cavity” and “Show Me Love”, all from The Moon Rang Like a Bell. The slow moody beats had the large audience at the Electric Owl rapt, and the band members seemed lost in their own world. The only one to really acknowledge the crowd was Miglis, and even her interaction was minimal.
Still, they created a captivating world.
For the second half, Hundred Waters sped up the tempo, and ended with an extended 4/4 floor stomping jam of “[Animal]”, off the new record. I left before their encore, so can’t say how the show ended, but I’m pretty sure it was on a high note.
Opening for Hundred Waters was Moses Sumney from Los Angeles. I only managed to catch the very end of his set, but what I saw was great. He created cool polyrhythmic loops with just his voice and effects pedals, turning himself into a giant powerful choir.
More Hundred Waters at the Electric Owl photos:
Previous Hundred Waters coverage on The Snipe: