Tartufi at The Armoury
Upon entering the Armoury, I felt I was in the wrong place for a show featuring San Francisco’s Tartufi and locals School Knights. It turns out the new venue doubles as a football (soccer) themed bar and was packed for the Mexico vs USA match. As the match wrapped up, the bands immediately began to load in. Tartufi was up first and began to piece together their elaborate setup. Having seen the band previously, I was curious to hear how the addition of bassist Ben Thorne would affect the overall dynamic of a band that had previously just consisted of guitarist/vocalist Lynne Angel and drummer Brian Gorman. The result is a much improved rhythm section sound that felt more human then the band’s previous live looped bass lines.
The band’s set started with “Underwater” from their latest album These Factory Days, which was released on Southern Records on March 25th. Lynne’s hauntingly dreamy vocals are more immediate than in their previous release The Goodwill of the Scar but the layering of the vocals via loops still creates a larger than expected vocal sound that includes delayed harmonies. They continued on with “Eaves and Dot Dash,” never playing any of the songs in their entirety until they reached “Seldom.” Some of the songs I did not recognize and was later informed that they were new songs that hadn’t been titled yet. The set continued with parts of “The Butterless Man” and “Engineering” but ended with “The Butterless Man.” Tartufi’s blend of luscious vocal harmonies, polyrhythms, and pulsing rock riffs is what makes them so unique. To see them replicate their sound live, is to watch a group of musicians master their tools and sculpt sound as they see fit. Using driving percussion, unexpected breakdowns and movements and, dreamy to the point of surreal, vocals, Tartufi succeeds in beautifying their complex musical arrangements into an exciting live experience.
Review by Enrique Jiminez.