Takka Takka makes hushed, spare indie rock with a lot of open spaces. Or so I thought until I saw them last night at Madison’s brand-new downtown venue, The Frequency. Now they are loud. And have two guitarists playing a lot of notes at once instead of one guitarist playing hardly any notes. And frontman Gabe Levine clutches the mike and howls and emotes and smashes a tambourine on the floor at the end of the set.
And it was great! The encore — announced as a Britney Spears cover but presumably not one — was especially strong: the whole song plays as a big slow drony uplift, a la Spacemen 3, but all the detail work was complicated and proggy instead of straightforward and druggy.
Grammar, from Chicago, opened. You know what’s a good look for a band? The look where no two people look like they’re in the same band. Grammar played energetic, not entirely tight, pop with big five-part harmonies that worked most of the time.
The Frequency is small — really small — and despite being small, wasn’t full. Maybe fifteen people were there to see Takka Takka, of whom five were Grammar. A very good place to get very close to a band you want to see. Strangely, if you order “cheese fries” there you get a white pizza. Apparently that’s what “cheese fries” means in the proprietors’ home town of Stevens Point, WI.