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Portland duo Menomena to perform up close and personal in first Columbus appearance

Courtesy of Big Hassle Media

Justin Harris from Menomena likes to think the band’s fans are cut from a higher cloth.
“I like to think the typical Menomena fan is an intelligent music listener,” Harris said. “(It’s) usually a range from older people to super young people, from college dudes to college nerds. A wide variety.”
The Portland-based duo is scheduled to perform at The Basement on Friday at 8:30 p.m., and it will be the band’s first appearance in Columbus.
This is only the second city in Ohio that the band has performed in, Cleveland being the first, Harris said.
“I’m excited to come to Columbus, having never been there before,” Harris said. “We’ve definitely toured a lot over the years, and it’s rare when we play a place we haven’t played before, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Marissa Luther, marketing manager at PromoWest Productions, said Menomena’s scarcity of Ohio appearances is exactly why they booked a Columbus show for the band, and why The Basement was the venue of choice.
“We want to bring them here, and we think they have a pretty decent underground following,” Luther said. “(The Basement) in particular is our smallest venue, so it’s nice to be able to see a band for the first time there because you’re so up close and personal.”
Menomena consists of Harris and Danny Seim. When recording, the multi-instrumentalists both sing, contribute to the writing process and trade off on a variety of instruments to achieve their sound, Harris said. No matter what changes their musical style takes, he said, the process always begins in the same manner.
“Our music traditionally starts out the same way, like when we’re writing,” Harris said. “It’s very rhythmically driven, and drums and the rhythm section of any given song is where we start typically and focus.”
The band’s fifth album, “Moms,” was released Sept. 18 and took a slightly different musical direction than the previous albums, Harris said.
“I think lyrically we focused a lot more on the meanings of the songs,” Harris said. “It has stronger lyrical content. I think the subject matter is a bit more serious … and that just happened to be where we were at the time.”
Although Harris and Seim trade and play each other’s instruments when recording, it becomes more difficult to do that in a concert setting. Two more band members become part of Menomena when the band puts on live shows, Harris said.
“Live, Danny plays the drums exclusively, and I … do bass and saxophone, and a little bit of guitar,” Harris said. “And then the other two people we have playing with us, Matt (Dabrowiak) is playing mostly guitar and Dave (Depper) is playing mostly keyboard.”
Emily Noble, a first-year in exploration, said she would be interested in getting to know the band’s music, since it has never been to Columbus before, depending on the cost of the concert.
“It would depend on the price, being a broke college kid,” Noble said. “But for the right price it would definitely be something I would go to just to experience it.”
Tickets are $13 in advance through Ticketmaster, and $14 at the door.

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