Representing the East Bay at SFSU, Berkeley’s own Art Nikels lulled The Depot into an experimental indie reverie of alternating beats and chordal melodies.
Within their dynamic six-song set, the five-piece took the crowd on an emotional journey with pensive harmonies, verging on the stylings of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. The pocket, led by Jake Barczack from behind the kit, could not have been tighter on Wednesday: the rhythm section maintained a fluid movement throughout the set.
Momentum grew steadily with tasteful cascades of cymbals atop pulsing guitar progressions and floating vocals in “Hue.” Art Nikels picked up the pace in “Tiger,” sparking listener curiosity with syncopated percussion and a instrumental siren effect that faded into a gentle hum. “Kids” continued the theme of swells and stops where lead singer Xavier Perrone and the other band members joined together to form a soaring, dream-like vocal chorus that directly transitioned into “Red Red Wood.” Fulfilling its name, their final original song transported the audience into misty forest depths, to an outro exploding with electronic flavors.
The highlight of the show occurred just as the crowd settled into a nice buzz from free flowing drinks at the adjacent on-campus bar. A stirring rendition of Flying Lotus’ “Do the Astral Plane,” chock full of synthesizer and piercing drum hits,got everyone jiving to strangely captivating beats.
A band to watch, Wednesday night was Art Nikels’ first show in the city and it certainly won’t be their last.
Article by Conner Smith