Theo Schaefer

Geographer Plays SOhO

S.F. Electro-Pop Band Hypnotizes Crowd

San Francisco electro-pop shakers Geographer orbed through Santa Barbara on Thursday for a wildly energetic set at SOhO. Geographer, aka Mike Deni, delighted fans with a full band, highlighted by blooming electric cello, jingling tambourine, beat-chugging synths, and galloping drums pouring out into the sonic space. Deni seemed to absorb the crowd’s enthusiasm and spill it back out, strutting across the stage while delivering a subtle scope into his process, as he looped vocal textures, guitar and synth lines, and stick-struck wooden percussion, all the while passing through the crowd, sharing instruments with bandmates, and requesting audience participation.

SOhO lent intimacy to what might have been a larger production on a larger stage, as Deni premiered unreleased material featuring a fuller, pop-centered sound. Still, much of the set was dedicated to older jams. Highlights included spins of Geographer’s dazzling 2010 release Animal Shapes, and renditions of “Original Sin,” “Kites,” and “Paris” hypnotized the crowd. Deni also played lo-fi and more delicate numbers such as “I’m Ready” and “Lover’s Game,” which spoke for themselves.

Opener Nine Pound Shadow was stunning with its Fleet Foxes–esque, bucolic folk, its harmonies glistening amid stripped-down ’70s melodies, the best B-sides from the best B-bands. Longtime fans greeted the bands after the show. Nobody was staying in the green room; nobody was going home early. The fan base and the music were fully informing one another, and the synergy was undeniable.

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