Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs) with Buster Keaton Shorts

Mon Apr 23, 2012
Castro Theatre
City, Movies, Music
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2011 for tUnE-yArDs was a major breakout year. The group’s album w h o k i l l was praised far and wide (including in NME, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, the Guardian, Paste and other publications). The method of the band’s leader, Merrill Garbus, is madness. Equipped with drums, ukulele and electronics, Garbus will establish a song’s theme with a beat, plus a melody, plus a vocal track—recorded live and looped. She then takes those musical motifs and layers them with her own accompaniment and that of her powerful band. The resulting songs are mind-bending, fun and frenzied, satisfying even as they threaten to careen out of control. It’s really no surprise, then, that for her live performance at SFIFF 55 she’s decided to score short films by Buster Keaton, adapting her previous work while collaborating with local wunderkind guitarist Ava Mendoza. Like Garbus, Keaton (as both actor and director) excels with just a few basic props—a house askew, a slippery floor, a piece of trash—manipulating them in absurd and incredibly nuanced ways that frequently escalate into a cacophonous riot. For this very special live engagement, Garbus and Menodza will be joined by the entire tUnE-yArDs crew, accompanying the films One Week (1920), The Haunted House (1921)and with Fatty ArbuckleGood Night, Nurse! (1918) and The Cook (1918).

—Sean Uyehara


  1. Castro Theatre
    429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA