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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Telekinesis-Opolis-Norman, OK


            Telekinesis stormed through Norman this past Sunday night. I came to the show expecting a quaint, intimate evening. The openers, Justin Rice and Sherree Chamberlain, kept the night on that peaceful path before the headliners decided to crash down with a roar of thunder. And nothing is quite as good as the unexpected.

            Seattle’s Telekinesis has been buzzing all over the music scene since early 2009. They were the darlings of SXSW, and have been supporting acts like Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, Ra Ra Riot, and Cut Off Your Hands since March. The came to Norman on their own however, and I have a feeling their next time through they’ll be occupying a much bigger stage.

            Their brand of power pop is that straightforward, familiar type of music that instantly feels as though you have heard it before. Though it could be easy to be cast off as generic with that sort of song writing, Telekinesis has found a way to keep these down-to-earth melodies fresh, interesting, and miles away from boring.

            The night began with the darling Carly Gwin (of the Workweek), followed by a solo performance of Student Film’s front man Justin Rice, whose superb solo stuff sounded strikingly like the Decemberists. Then it was time for Sherree Chamberlain to take the stage. Her set was relaxed and intimate without the full band backing her. She debuted several new songs and sounded absolutely stellar with her inspirational, folksy ditties. Her lush, unassuming voice bounced along the walls of the Opolis like a beautiful echo. Then it was time for the headliner.

            Telekinesis is basically the one-man act of Michael Benjamin Lerner, but he is accompanied by three fellow Seattle musicians on tour. Lerner helms the drums on stage, but continues as lead singer without skipping a beat. The debut record has a very relaxed, gentle feel to it, but performed live, the songs take on a much more vigorous, frantic form.

            The launched into the set like a tornado, with a fast paced, frenzied dashing between the songs on the set list. They are one of those few bands whose songs might actually sound better live. “Look to the East” and “Tokyo” scurried along hysterically with Lerner’s drums thudding dominantly. They took well deserved breathes with the sauntering “Plankton” and “Awkward Kisser” and even rendered a cover of the Kinks “House in the Country.” The show was at its absolute best with “Calling All Doctors,” which darted around daringly, and the power pop perfection of “Coast of Carolina” which the band elected to close with. You would be hard pressed to find anyone that wouldn’t instantly fall in love with the beautiful melody and enchanting lyrics of this song to a distant lover. If your life was a movie, this is the song that would play over all of the happiest moments, and Telekinesis provided me with one of my happiest moments of the summer with there pleasantly unexpected show.

            This show hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was probably happiest buried beneath all the rubble.

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