Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8/7/09 - Sleep Whale, Dear Human, Echo-Toll Hailey's. solo.

First up was "a short installation/performance by Echo-Toll". Um, OK, this was very uh, interesting, if not a bit hard to describe. Two folks on stage - one on laptop/synth, the other on shovel. No, i am not kidding. To be fair, he also fiddled around with various pieces of noise-generating equipment on the stage, but he loved that damn shovel. Most of the performance was spent demonstrating his considerable digging skills, often in slow-motion (so we could really study his technique?), sometimes wif farmer's hat on, sometimes wif it off (get it? yea, me neither). The soundtrack to all this was the recorded sounds of cats being tortured, which emanated from the laptop (i think). anyhows, the performance was not at all "short", i'm afraid, as it took forever to dig that goddam hole (cursed black gumbo!). This was definitely Art, baby, wif a capital A.Dear, Human was up next. Totally instrumental band - but not the GYBE, Explosions in the Sky ambient-type stuff. These guys do the whole "every-member-of-the-band-play-as-many-frickin-notes-as-you-can-in-the-next-four-minutes", math-rock kinda stuff. They obviously were talented, and if you like that sort of thing, you should check them out. not really my bag. i stared at the gal in the white shorts the whole time (sorry).Sleep Whale headlined. They've expanded to four members since i saw them last, which has rounded out their sound quite nicely. very nice, soothing set.

8/6/09 - Barcelona, Meese, Seabird, Interval the Prophet Bar. solo.

Interval (formerly Soundelux) was up first. 3-man band straight outta Plano - keys, guitar, drums. Extremely ordinary, I thought. Fairly unoriginal & uninspiring. Not a great voice on the lead. Sorry.
Seabird (Kentucky) was up next. 4-man band, with lead on keys, wearing the obligatory funky piano-pop hat (what's up with that, anyways?). Somewhat reedy voice on lead, not my fav. Vocals overpowered by the band, which played too many notes (i'm kidding - it might've just been the mix, but it all seemed very muddy). Once again, nothing overly exciting or original. 'Course, I might've been biased by the fact that i saw that almost all of their upcoming gigs are in churches. ;)
Meese (Denver) - very similar in style to Seabird, but with better vocals. and no hat.
To expound just a bit further - those last two bands are the kind that inspire the 20-year-old- girlfriends-of-band-members-in-the-audience to constantly link their arms together and sway back and forth whilst singing along. Not that there's anything wrong with that. i'm not sure why that diminishes my opinion of the bands, but it do.

Headlining was Barcelona (Seattle). Easily the best band of the night. 3-man band - keys, guitar, drums. Definite Coldpay and Death Cab territory. The difference between them and the other bands that night? The outstanding vocals of the lead - an amazing voice with incredible range and emotion, complemented wonderfully by some inspired harmonies from the guitar player. Great energy and passion from this band. These guys prove you don't need a large band to really crank out some amazing tunes - sometimes, simpler is better.
Mad props to the Prophet Bar for getting started at 8 and done at 11:15 (four bands!) - definitely helped reduce the number of times i fell asleep in meetings the next day.