Live: The Apples in Stereo/Fol Chen/The Wild Moccasins

WALTER’S ON WASHINGTON — 11/07/2010: If you’ve heard The Apples in Stereo, then you can probably guess that they put on a pretty good live show. The most accessibly poppy group of the now legendary Elephant 6 collective, they’ve been creating feel-good songs of a high caliber since 1991, when a starry-eyed young Robert Schneider and friends began recording their first EP, Tidal Wave.

Now touring for their new album, Travelers in Space and Time, The Apples have adopted a futuristic front that involves matching silver outfits and happy robot singing. Both were present in abundance on this Sunday, when they played to a sadly meager crowd at Walter’s with Fol Chen and local favorites The Wild Moccasins.

The Wild Moccasins delivered a solid set that was as playful and danceable as per usual, with singer Zahira Gutierrez looking especially divine, wreathed in an alarming amount of feathers.

They were followed by the eclectic and artsy group Fol Chen, who had some snappy-looking matching outfits of their own. The height difference between the two male singers was almost comical, but their music was decidedly un-silly. Their set went from sweet to soulful to sinister, threaded throughout with stuttering drums and strangely effected acoustic guitar. While their songs were original, the crowd wasn’t so much in the mood for deep contemplation as it was for dancing, and the applause seemed a little half-hearted.

When The Apples in Stereo came on stage, they greeted us on behalf of the future — from which they had traveled to play for us.

“We’re gonna play our last song for you now, which, to you guys, will seem like the first. Because, we’re traveling backwards in time,” explained frontman Robert Schneider, beaming like a little kid on Christmas. They started off with one of the biggest hits from Travelers in Space and Time, “Hey Elevator,” which got us youngsters up at the front of the crowd jumping around immediately. Although it was nearly the end of their tour, the Apples seemed as happy and energetic as ever. They continued to play mostly from their new album, along with a couple older hits that have achieved the status of indie rock classics — “Same Old Drag,” “Stream Running Over,” and “Ruby.”

It was a night of totally indulgent, happy pop music. I left with a newfound respect for The Apples in Stereo, who’ve managed to make consistently good music for the past 19 years, heedless of the trends that passed by them. Though their tour has only just ended, I’m already looking forward to the next album, and the next time they swing by Houston. END

Feature photo by Adam Cantor.

Live review by . Live review posted Tuesday, November 30th, 2010. Filed under Features, Live Reviews.

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