I have trouble describing what Beak> sound like to people, but I've found a good rule of thumb is that if someone's eyes glaze over at the mere mention of "Portishead side project," then they're probably not going to be interested in this type of stuff anyway, because it's more krauty, proggy and (in most cases) less accessible than your typical Portishead musical accompaniment.
So, how to describe this set... should probably start by saying that Beak>'s sound contains hints of the following bands: Can, NEU!, Holy Fuck, Tortoise, and of course Portishead (well, sorta), and they definitely understand the dynamic advantages of loud, cutting guitar squall (Mogwai). Their strict adherence to knotty minimalism does not obscure the fact that this is highly danceable, groove-based music, and their metronomic perfection shouldn't be mistaken for lack of soul: this is the type of stuff that could easily be fed into a laptop or a sequencer, but Beak> choose to perform every note live. Good stuff.
One of the show's highlights, "Wulfstan II," featured an interruption of a few minutes while the band replaced a busted bass drum pedal - check below for video. After the equipent switch, the band went straight back into the "Wulfstan II" groove and completed the song, which was cool as fuck.
Opening the show was Chrome Canyons, who played a sort of retro / futuristic dance / electronica dealie featuring vintage synth sounds and - surprise - a theremin! I enjoyed them, and people were definitely getting down to their shit, but it's the type of thing (think: Gang Gang Dance or School of Seven Bells) where you can never really be sure how much of the music the band is actually performing live, and how much is on the laptop. I hate to overthink this, but homeboy's theremin playing was suspiciously good.
Beak - >> -- Portishead dude's skeletal kraut / electronic side act. A true experiment (and success) in minimalism, >> pushes the boundaries of what constitues 'a hook' or 'catchiness.' Hypnotic, subtle and dark.
Best songs: "Wulfstan II," "Ladies Mile."
Lost Sounds - Lost Lost - Demos, Sounds, Alternate Takes & Unused Songs 1999-2004 -- There are a couple worthwhile gems here sprinkled amongst the crap, but honestly it's slim pickin's here. Also, if you're expecting the psychotic, Screamers-inspired hyperactivity of most Lost Sounds stuff, you'll probably be disappointed - these songs more closely resemble the crummy Times New Viking album tracks that are best skipped over.
Best songs: "I Get Nervous pt. 2," "Look at Me."
No Joy - Negaverse EP -- Loved their live show (see below for a couple fragments I captured when I saw them opening for Lower Dens in July) and as such I was surprised that beneath the fuzz and haze, this EP had no memorable songs on it.