Five thoughts from El Ten Eleven’s February 5 show at Triple B

El Ten Eleven’s Kristian Dunn performs last Wednesday at Backstage Bar & Billiards.
Photo: Bill Hughes
Jason Harris

1. Bassist Kristian Dunn said he and drummer Tim Fogarty were “f*cking terrified" on this, the first night of their latest tour. Turns out they had no reason to be. The duo, whose smart fusion sound makes it seem like there are about eight members jamming at once, plays with surgical precision.

2. The sound inside Backstage Bar & Billiards was crisp and clear, loud but not aggressive—ideal for a band like El Ten Eleven, which features so many different elements, each coming through with equal fervor and quality.

3. The night's biggest downside: the height of the stage. The low platform has a cool backdrop, but for a group like this, who relies so heavily on intricate looping and effects, if you weren’t in the first three rows, that was nearly impossible to see. Dunn’s double-neck guitars and effects pedal and Fogarty’s bag of percussion goodies were lost on many in attendance, shame since the visual are as important as the aural at a show like this.

4. For a few glorious minutes, there was not one lit cigarette lit in the venue. Everywhere I walked I could breathe easy. It felt like I was in New York or LA. As Downtown continues to develop, a no-smoking indoors policy (especially for bars like Triple B, which features large outdoor spaces) would likely add to the customer base.

5. When will Downtown become oversaturated with music venues? One has to wonder if Fremont and 6th has enough juice to support more than five live music joints. Can three big acts play on the same night and sustain an audience? Or will the weaker venues get gobbled up as the fitter ones survive. It’ll be interesting to see which ones separate themselves from the pack.

  • The Las Vegas debut of the Ohio-bred indie band was filled with dynamic arrangements, entertaining anecdotes—and, surprisingly, lots of attendees.

  • At this point, the only constant from album to album is the band’s dedication to ambition.

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