It's an almost impossible wish, but what if the venues were reversed for this week's respective appearances by Weekend and The Weeknd? The former is an electronically inclined rock band that piles absorbing shoegaze textures above heady punk momentum. They build big walls of sound and move beneath them with uncommon agility. The latter is the stage handle of Abel Tesfaye, a slinky and seductive R&B singer who jump-ropes the line between arty sophistication and aggressive sexuality atop beats that are both murky and luxurious.
Kiss Land, Tesfaye's major-label debut, continues the unending lechery and occasionally crushing guilt that has consumed The Weeknd's previous efforts. The music is less melodic than on previous efforts, with an oppressive fog of synthesizers and insistent pulses. Like the blurred-by-chemicals trysts Tesfaye describes, the sounds become a wash; only the rhythm of bass, breath and bodies remains clear. His smooth croon delivers sharp anxieties. Check the creeping outro on "Love in the Sky": "I'm always getting high/ 'Cause my confidence low," he whispers, "And I'm always in a rush/ Ain't no time to fuck slow." Such moments elevate his seedy intimacy, a quality that might play better in a cramped and dingy rock club than a fancy space such as this one.
Weekend's huge rock would better fit a cavernous theater (and their correctly spelled name might cause less confusion for ushers and staff). On its sophomore effort, Jinx, the Brooklyn outfit sounds more polished and confident, their riffs swelling above kinetic bass lines and drums that don't slink from complications. Take "July," which spins layered riffs into delicate gauze, spreading it over a clattering rhythm section. During these moments, Weekend could fill almost any space. Ticket sales notwithstanding, why not DPAC? —Jordan Lawrence