Atlas Genius plays it safe at the Independent

BB Gun Press/Courtesy

Known for its 2013 hit single, “Trojans,” the band Atlas Genius performed at the Independent in San Francisco two days after it released its second album, Inanimate Objects. Composed of brothers Keith and Michael Jeffery, Atlas Genius gave the large crowd of hipster grown-ups a bang and a half for its buck with thrilling indietronica tunes, cryptic lyrics and an Australian accents.

Before the band graced the stage with its aura of nonchalance, two opening acts preceded it as potent warmers for the cool and collected crowd. Each of their sets lasted an hour, which was more than enough time to showcase their stimulating songs and strong performances.

Los Angeles band the Shelters launched the night into session. Its song “Birdwatching” demonstrated a mix of garage and rock ’n’ roll, which made the audience members bop their heads and eased the ambience. Josh Jove’s homey vocals and intriguing guitar riffs were frisky treats to the ears.

The second act, Dreamers, amplified the venue with its songs that flirt with low fidelity at first and then hit the crowd vigorously at their choruses. Every movement of vocalist Nick Wold was hypnotizing.

With Atlas Genius’ relaxed entrance to the stage came a shift to the use of more elaborate and colorful strobe lights, as well as a dimmer atmosphere.

The pre-show rituals, such as greetings and setting up the instruments, commenced. The band started the set with a few tracks from its first album, When It Was Now, such as “If So” and “Centred on You.” Then it teased some of its new materials from its follow-up album. Keith Jeffery took the center as Michael Jeffery handled the percussion.

Of course, the wishes of many wouldn’t be fulfilled without hearing the song that brought these Aussies to U.S. radio waves. The band’s performance of “Trojans” further quelled the crowd’s enthusiasm as the crowd jerked their heads up and down in a hipster manner.

Atlas Genius seems to be playing it safe with the music it puts out. Its songs, although well produced, often shift from upbeat to almost lethargic and then to purely balanced. Lack of coherence throughout its work may deprive the band of a distinguishing personality. It feels as if it would be difficult for new listeners to get into Atlas Genius’ music.

The band made up for these shortcomings, however, with a solid and striking live show with energy that echoed throughout the venue without physical exaggeration.

Contact Majick Tadepa at [email protected].