John McEntire of Tortoise plays the drums at Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., on March 14, 2016. (Photo by Greg Scranton)
Tortoise held sway over the attention of a very crowded room at the Black Cat Saturday night, engrossing the audience in waves of progressive jazz and post-rock melodies.
Seriously, for a show that wasn’t technically “sold out,” the Tortoise concert was among the most full I’ve experienced on the mainstage of the Black Cat, which has been proud to be the DC home to Tortoise since the Chicago-based quintet started coming around in the days of the Cat’s original location.
Promoting their new album The Catastrophist, Tortoise delivered a long and winding set that drew heavily from the latest record, technically their seventh studio full-length although the band has released other recordings of live performances and special projects since its formation in 1990.
Tortoise (Photo by Andrew Paynter)
Post-rock quintet Tortoise released a new album, “The Catastrophist,” in January via Thrill Jockey Records, and they are returning to the Black Cat while on tour to support it this Saturday, March 19.
Tortoise have played the Black Cat a few times over the years since their formation in 1990. The band largely has specialized in instrumental numbers, and the new album is no different. However, on “The Catastrophist,” they recruited Georgia Hubley from Yo La Tengo on vocals for a soulful, dreamy single “Yonder Blue.”
Watch the official music video for “Yonder Blue” by Tortoise on YouTube:
“The Catastrophist,” the seventh studio album from Tortoise, garnered generally favorable reviews, according to Metacritic. Heather Phares of AllMusic distilled the essence of the album: “Fittingly, the title track has some of the closest ties to the album’s beginnings, holding together shifts between knotty, busy electro-funk and the kind of brooding post-rock Tortoise helped define in the ’90s with nimble drumming indebted to jazz.” John McEntire, also known for his drumming with The Sea and Cake, again engineers the album. It seems like a good time to catch the gents in action!
Mind Over Mirrors, a meditative music project by Chicago musician Jaime Fennelly, opens for Tortoise. Tickets are available online.
w/ Mind Over Mirrors
Saturday, March 19