EL VY played the Independent in San Francisco, 11.06.15

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EL VY, the new band/collaboration between  Matt Berninger (The National) and Brent Knopf (ex-Menomena, Roman Falls), played a sold-out show at the Independent on November 6th. Berninger was in SF just a couple of weeks ago, headlining the Treasure Island Music Festival with the National, so fans got a much closer look at the singer at the Independent, provided they got tickets in the few minutes before the show sold out. EL VY (pronounced like “hell pie” or the plural of Elvis according the band’s Facebook page) played through all of their debut record, Return to the Moon—which on the whole is a poppier, more raucous affair than The National’s most recent output—and threw in a pretty good cover of Fine Young Cannibal’s “She Drives Me Crazy.” It’s tough to hear Berninger’s distinctive baritone without instantly thinking of The National, and it takes a bit of getting used to to hear his voice without the Dessner brothers’ guitars and without drummer Bryan Devendorf’s instantly recognizable drums, but  EL VY lets Berninger’s dry wit—usually limited to between-song banter in his main gig—shine more, lyrically.

Seattle 4-piece Hibou opened the show, and were pretty reminiscent of a more rocking, West Coast version of the dreampop practiced by bands like DIIV. 21-year-old frontman Peter Michel, former drummer for Craft Spells, switched to vocals and guitar for this gig, though he still seems to be in a drummer mindset, moving around constantly (and shoeless) on stage.

EL VY @ The Independent, San Francisco, CA, November 6th, 20015
Setlist:
Careless
It’s a Game
Sleepin’ Light
Sad Case
Happiness, MS
Silent Ivy Hotel
Return to the Moon
Paul Is Alive
I’m the Man to Be
She Drives Me Crazy
(Fine Young Cannibals cover)
No Time to Crank the Sun
Need a Friend

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