LIVE REVIEW: ON AN ON + Eliot Sumner @ Rickshaw Stop, SF 9/3/15
Popscene hosted at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley is arguably one of the best places to see buzz-worthy bands on the brink of ubiquity in an intimate atmosphere. Thursday evening we braved a bill that would carry on late into the evening on a school night to catch Eliot Sumner and Minneapolis’ ON AN ON.
Though references to her parental lineage are inevitable (she is the daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler), Eliot Sumner has been making quite a name for herself and generating fans with pretty much anyone she encounters. Right around 10 o’clock, the crowd in front of the stage surged forward and what was once a sparse crowd became a packed house when the svelte 25-year old Londoner stepped on stage. Armed with her bass guitar and band at her flank, Sumner seduced everyone in the crowd with her buttery androgynous vocals reminiscent of her father’s. Tracks like “After Dark” and “Information” off her Early Reflections EP and what will be her forthcoming debut album electrified the crowd leading us to conclude that a headlining tour for Sumner should be just around the corner.
It was a tough transition from Sumner’s world of danceable dark-pop to Minneapolis’ ON AN ON chill vibe, especially so late into the evening. Touring in support of their latest release And The Wave Has Two Sides, ON AN ON took the stage at 11:30 to a thinned out crowd. Opening with album opener “Behind the Gun,” singer Nate Eiesland’s vocals were crisp and flawless. After tinkering with the on-stage projector, the band’s beautiful projections came to life imitating the artful dream-like aesthetic in the video for “Drifting.” Colorful topographic-esque maps provided extra dimension the band’s nod to 1980s on “Hunter.” Though objectively, the band’s performance was solid, it felt like a conscious effort was put forth to make it so. Lag time between songs in the setlist led to an unsettled crowd and an off-kilter vibe and the mellow mixture of songs off Wave and Give In made it difficult to get the audience engaged. We will say, however, that ON AN ON knows how to immerse all of the audience’s senses creating a lovely show atmosphere that stimulates not only the ears but the eyes.