Live Review: Car Seat Headrest

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Last weekend I had the chance to see indie rock band Car Seat Headrest, perform live at the Neptune Theatre in what was probably one of my favorite shows I have attended. I’ve been kind of obsessed with this band for most of the year, so finally getting to see them live was a pretty great experience. They were touring in support of their latest album Teens of Denial, definitely one of my favorite albums of the year so far.

The show kicked off after a strong performance by opening band The Domestics, a group I was not familiar with until this concert. Car Seat Headrest then opened with a short Leonard Cohen cover, before kicking the show off with the popular lead track “Fill in the Blank” from their newest album. This was when you could feel the audience really get excited; the level of audience engagement at this show was high, particularly in the front, where many of the people around me were singing along passionately.

The band played many other recent songs including “Vincent” and “Destroyed by Hippie Powers,” as well as older songs such as “Maud Gone” and “Sober to Death,” skillfully mixing different points in their discography. The Teens of Denial tracks stood out especially good live, although I was expecting them to be played, so the older songs were a nice surprise. “Maud Gone” was particularly nice to hear as I was not expecting that song to be played, and it also provided a brief respite of calm among the more high-tempo rock songs surrounding it on the setlist. The audience gave a particularly loud cheer when front-man Will Toledo announced they would be playing a song from Twin Fantasy, probably the most popular of their early albums. The band also experimented with a shortened version of “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” which was reworked in preparation for an upcoming TV performance. Guitarist Ethan Ives’ guitar skills really shone through live, and Will Toledo’s vocal performance was excellent. 

The most enjoyable songs live, in my opinion, were “Strangers” from their 2015 album Teens of Style (a re-recording of an earlier release), and the encore in which the band was joined by Naked Days for covers of “Psycho Killer” and “This Must Be The Place” by Talking Heads, which they brought impressive energy to, and closed off the show on a high note. Overall, it was a great performance and a strong end to the tour.

Car Seat Headrest: Bandcamp / Twitter

Photo Credit: Kevin Tosh

-Noah Prince

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Dark Sunglasses – An Electrifying Event at Showbox SoDo (Show Review)

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RAC lights up with a live band at ShowBox SoDo on Tuesday, Nov. 24th

Light keyboard filled the air and a soft beat emitted from the over-leveled speakers. With only half the room filled, the music blasted through the Showbox, piercing the silence until the crowd settled into the sound. The first opener, filous pulled out his guitar, bowed his head slightly and riffed over a reverberating female vocalist. The two instruments together, a midi setup and fx-ed guitar sounded like a chorus of chilled-out house music.

“Hey Seattle,” the beanie-sporting artist spoke before returning to his instruments. A faint cheer could be heard from the bar in the back.

Not phased by the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm, Filous strummed along to dance-worthy tracks. Smiling all the while, the casually-dressed multi-instrumentalist switched between MIDI controllers, keyboards and his various guitars. As he slammed on the bass, the crowd swayed and lights flashed before us.

Filous introduced himself as an artist from Vienna. Over a few spouts of laughter, he further explained his adventures at Jack in The Box before playing his next song, “Coming Over” – a synth-heavy sound featuring the same summery guitar riffs that had been heard frequently throughout the set.

Light lyrics sprinkled throughout the song and the line, “All I can think about is coming over” repeated into a somewhat-tropical instrumental chorus. The hook brought many to the dance floor and the strobes shimmered among us. With all of his talents, I got to wondering why the microphone was placed so properly as if it’d be used whilst playing. All my questions were answered in a single breath as Filous pulled out a harmonica for his last track – blowing us away with his breath-induced harmonies.

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filous wowed us with flawless multi-instrumentalism

After a short break, two musicians approached the stage. Both on drums, the two multi-instrumentalists represented the Portland-based Karl Kling. Arpeggios filled the air and a dimly lit duo sang indulgent lyrics over two sets of electronic instruments. A light up set of tools stood adjacent to a traditional drumset as the two musicians harmonized with one another.

We moved our bodies back and forth and a few other audience members joined us. Although I wasn’t there alone, I couldn’t help but notice the sheer amount of standing that took place during this show. Of course, I could chalk it up to the fact that we were watching an opener, but since this is my last post for Rainy Dawg Radio, I thought I’d mention something that’s been bothering me since I moved into this city and began participating in the music scene:

Why don’t Seattle Concert-goers ever dance during openers?!

Their music is good. The dance floor is ready! If anybody has an answer to this question, myself and all of the touring artists in our area would like to know… Synced beneath the falsettos as the two men expressed themselves among a sea of careless Seattleites. Catchy riffs soared beneath existential lyricism as the band showed off their chops, from drums to loops and electric guitars, the multi-talented Portland band never ceased to amaze us.

Yet most of the audience remained unfazed while my date and I swayed just the same. Harder now. Deeper now. The harmonies seemed to strike nearer than before. Perhaps the volume kept increasing but something about the atmosphere above us kept me present as the fog filled the air and the band requested a dimming of the lights.

“Alright Seattle. This is dance time,” Karl attempted to work the crowd. But only a few cheers could be heard in response as many audience members lingered in the back – bobbing their head to the rhythm instead of shaking what their mamas gave them.

“So dust of your regrets” Kling sang, “Cus there goes the day again. Born into this world.”

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Karl Kling sported two drummers and a sounded like Death Cab in a dance club

80s melodies and melancholy choruses led from one song into the next as the opening set came and went. During their last song, “Careful” the duo smiled as they witnessed some energy beginning to emit from the evening’s underwhelming attendees. As Big Data prepared their set, I prayed for a miracle that the dance floor would pick up.

Fog filled the air and screams rang out in support of the surreal visuals that began to appear so subtly behind a coordinated set of electronic musicians. A robotic voice could be heard from the pumped-up speakers and the band members began to move in tandem to a static beat. Almost inaudible, a set of muted vocals began to sing the opening lines of “Dangerous” and the crowd finally moved in-tow to the enthralling rhythm.

The two vocalists played off of one another flawlessly. Each computerized run ran into the next as the lights glimmered among us. The music enticed us to engage as Big Data entertained with alluring visuals above driving drums and guitars; all the while the two frontmen acted as conductors of the crowd below them.

Bobbing their heads back and forth to the ephemeral sound of their own creation, the crashes and clangs of the live instrumentation filled the set beneath layers of enchanting lyricism. All the while, the audience followed along in a daze, drunk in the sound of a presented simulation.

References to a computerized system filled the breaks between songs until the word, “Imagination” broke the sequence, “Your simulation is now complete.” The robotic voice complimented our enthusiasm as the lights reflected off the band-member’s florescent sunglasses.

As the lights continued to dim, the combination of the visual and musical performances pulled us in to a videogame-like trance – complete with the sounds of dial-up modems and mid-2000s internet references. Throughout the set, Big Data did nothing but entertain as our eyes reflected the shimmering stage above us.

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With flashing lights and surreal digital visuals, Big Data drew the crowd ever-closer in a existential haze

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Members of the other bands and backstage crew joined the band as they repeated their hit track, “Dangerous”

The crowd cheered and familiar faces replaced the physical places of Big Data’s digital revolution. Karl Kling and André Anjos (RAC) stood left and right of a headband-wearing frontman. Behind them, Pink Feathers (aka Liz Anjos) rocked out on a keyboard while a full-sized drumset stood lit and elevated above.

We moved in waves as the live band played covers and originals frequently associated with RAC’s collection of (re)mixes. Hiding behind a telecaster, André occasionally sang along and smiled all the while Pink Feathers and Karl Kling led the upbeat performance. The collection of Portland artists did not disappoint as the crowd sang along to their favorite tracks. From Odesza to The Postal Service, local hits were met with more energy from the audience as the four-piece band reworked popular songs with their disco-inspired beats.

“Hollywood” and “Let it Go” were met with thunderous applause as André stepped out into the center to wail over the beat with his electric guitars. The foursome played off each other splendidly, cracking jokes and smiling along to the energy brought from playing their songs live.

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André Anjos leads his live band, shredding along with a pulsating performance

After seeing RAC in the past and wondering when he would break out from behind his turntables, I was inspired and impressed by the entire performance! Altogether, the variety of bands made for an excellent combination of Portland sounds that was able to break through the ever-famous Seattle Freeze.

Check out Pink Feathers, filous, Karl Kling, Big Data and RAC on their respective social medias and don’t forget to check out RAC’s website for the latest and greatest from the Portland music scene!

For more on RAC and his eclectic sets and sounds, check out my interview with him right here!

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DJ Desman

Positivity, Aspirin, and Pizza: A Review of Modern Baseball’s Show at Neumos

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Modern Baseball
bassist Ian Farmer had a shit-eating grin that just couldn’t be wiped off his face during their
entire set at Neumos, and I think that sums up fairly well how the night went. A mix of good vibes and melancholy music made for a fantastic evening.

This is the first show I’ve been to in a long time where I was completely blown
away by the openers. The first band, Tiny
Moving Parts
, kicked off the night with a bang, playing their blend of math
rock, emo, and post-hardcore. Their musicianship was phenomenal all around, but
drummer Billy Chevalier in particular had the crowd in awe. Jeff Rosenstock and his backing band
were next to take the stage. Their blend of old-school punk and new-school
pop-punk kept the energy rising, and they even threw an on-the-fly cover of
Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” into their set. The final opener, PUP, killed it (they killed my ear
drums too; they’re seriously the loudest band I’ve ever seen). They had some
good banter with the crowd as well, making jokes at the expense of Portland and
its seemingly endless gauntlet of vegan food joints.

By the time Modern Baseball took the stage, they crowd was
pumped. They kicked off their set with their mid-tempo jam “The Weekend”, a song
about fucking around on the weekends with your closest friends, and it set the
mood perfectly for the rest of the evening. The crowd sang along to every word
of “Re-Done” (my personal favorite song in their discography), and two songs off
their new EP, “The Thrash Particle” and “Revenge of the Nameless Ranger”, sounded
fantastic.

The boys from Philly played all of the fan favorites off their most recent full-length album, 2014’s You’re
Gonna Miss It All
, and closed out their set with an ass-kicking rendition
of their hit “Your Graduation”. The bassist and drummer from Jeff Rosenstock’s
band joined Modern Baseball for the tune so drummer Sean Huber could run around
the stage, crowd surf, and play frontman for a song. They returned for one
encore and played a cover of The Killers’
“Mr. Brightside”.

There was one moment in particular that stood out to me that
night. Near the end of Modern Baseball’s set, guitarist and vocalist Brendan
Lukens
sincerely thanked the crowd for coming to the show and brought up the
topic of their recently cancelled shows. The band chose to cancel some tour dates
in England and Australia this past summer so Lukens could focus on taking steps toward improving
his mental health, as he has dealt with a lifelong struggle with anxiety and
depression. For a brief but beautiful moment, the crowd erupted in support of
Lukens. Even though the lyrics of Modern Baseball songs often aren’t the
happiest, the concert had a very positive vibe, and this small part of the show
made that positivity personal.

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Catch Modern Baseball if they come to a city near you as they
make their way through Canada and the East Coast this winter. You can find a list of their upcoming tour dates here.

-RJ Morgan

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RJ Morgan

Show Preview: Destroyer at the Neptune – TONIGHT (10/16)

This Friday brings a recent discovery for me to the nearby Neptune Theater. Destroyer, fronted by Dan Bejar of the Canadian indie band The New Pornographers, will be bringing his unique voice to fill the rafters of the local theater. 

Poison Season is a showcase for a variety of lush instrumentals behind Bejar’s often imploring and questioning vocals. Ranging from golden trumpets to strings, sax, piano, flute, (yes, flute) and your standard guitar and bass, I am sure his live show will sound as beautiful live as they do on record, if not more so.

And while you’re at it, watch his amusing and oddly fitting stop-motion video for ‘Times Square’. It’s not what you would expect!

Opening will be Frog Eyes, with doors at 8 and the show starting at 9. Get your tickets here if you haven’t yet.

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DJ Holmes

Rainy Dawg Turns 12: Isaiah Rashad @ Birthday Fest

Rainy Dawg Radio is throwing a tantrum! After 12 years of feeling brought down by the man, we’re ready for our final years of pre-teen excellence. THIS FRIDAY, our favorite bands are setting up shop in Sylvan Grove to celebrate our terrible twelfth birthday (we’re soooo old)!

If you haven’t already, you can RSVP via our facebook event! There you can find updates before and during the show, including posts about food, fun and free swag. For example:

If phantasmagorical frybread isn’t enough, there will also be music! Lots of music… including:

Isaiah Rashad

Wampire

One Above Below None

Naked Giants (RDR Birthday Battle winner!)

Easy Eating by Naked Giants

SNUFF REDUX

Toy Kingdom EP by Snuff Redux

Richie Dagger’s Crime

Collection of Singles 2012-2014 by Richie Dagger’s Crime

While you’re listening, our favorite clubs and organizations will be there as well:

1. Live Painting by UW Hip Hop Student Association!

2. Merch and more for sale by CTPAK Records!

and of course…

3. FIRE Native American street tacos by Off The Rez!

So come check it out on FRIDAY MAY 15th • 5–10pm

Where? SYLVAN GROVE THEATER

How much? FREE!!!

Rainy Dawg Radio, Arts & Entertainment and ASUW are happy to have such fantastic performers present on our behalf

xo come party

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DJ Desman

Naked Giants Take the Spot: Rainy Dawg’s 1st Annual Birthday Battle

Following the Daily’s coverage on Tuesday, the directors of ASUW’s Arts & Entertainment and Rainy Dawg Radio chose the Naked Giants as the winners of our first ever Birthday Battle!

As the champions, the band will be one of our openers at the 12th annual Birthday Fest, May 15th at Sylvan Grove!

The band put on a phenomenal show, presenting music from their dynamic repertoire. In case you missed it, check out a preview of what’s to come from the Naked Giants upcoming performance:

Easy Eating by Naked Giants

You can check out all of their music on the band’s bandcamp which includes their debut EP, Sit Down.

The UW-based band consists of Grant Mullen on guitar and vocals, Gianni Aiello on bass and vocals, and Henry La Vallee on drums and vocals.

“Grant and Henry having been playing together for many years, when Gianni joined the band in the summer of 2014, Naked Giants became what it is today. They recorded their first EP in 2014 and you can listen to it here! Have a great day and enjoy who you are!” – from their bandcamp.

Congrats to these up-and-coming rock stars! We can’t wait to see what you’ll surprise us with next. To stay in the loop, be sure to follow them on facebook!

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DJ Desman

Show Review: Stromae in Seattle

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Stromae is a performer.

Stromae, formally known as Paul Van Haver is a Belgian singer I was first exposed to on a trip to France. After hours going through Stromae’s interviews and repeatedly watching his music videos, I loved him. Last week, I went to a concert at the Showbox that convinced me further that there is absolutely tight international music out in the world that Americans are not exposed to.

Stromae encompasses what I like to think of hidden treasure. Not everyone knows him, but a few do. As much as I love introducing him to people, I want him to be really popular for the sake of anyone who has never heard him before. His stage presence, his performance, his vocals, his interactions with the audience all kept me intrigued till the very end.

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If you’ve spent hours going through Stromae’s interviews and repeatedly watching his music videos, the concert was really familiar to you. His music videos must have been the inspiration for much of his show, and believe me, he put on a show.

Stromae is not just a singer; Stromae is a dancer and an actor. One second he is making jokes about how French fries aren’t even French, and the next he is literally throwing up on stage to add dramatic effect and compliment one of his song’s music videos. The crowd LOVED Stromae. Many spoke French and were yelling “Je’Taime STROMAEEEE!!!” which was the only French I understood out of the entire night!

Go see Stromae. Tell me that I’m right when I say he is an incredible performer and you want to hang out with him all the time.

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Ania Kamkar

A Night at Neumos: Giraffage Concert Review

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This last week I hopped on a bus and headed to Capitol Hill to see Giraffage play at Neumos. I had seen Giraffage once before when he played a free show at UC Berkeley, and even with a pathetic sound system he still rocked it.

I had never been to Neumos before, but I was happy with the layout. It was a small enough venue to provide an intimate concert experience while still being large enough for everyone to have room to dance.There was a fairly large balcony area for those who were 21 or older in addition to the large area of floorspace for all ages to dance.

We arrived hella early, I’m not sure why, but when we got there the very first opener was still on. He was a short kid who refused to put his hat fully on his head named DJ HoJo. He was not bad I suppose; we only saw about ten minutes of his set so its hard to assess his talent. He played mainly electronic, bass heavy PLUR music. For those who are unaware what PLUR is, it’s basically just a thing that raver kids say, although in reality it stands for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. PLUR music can be defined by artists such as Porter Robinson and Zeds Dead.

When DJ HoJo got off the stage, Spazzkid came on, looking very hipster with his thick-rimmed glasses and perfectly sculpted manbun (please make this trend stop people). Spazzkid’s set consisted mainly of somewhat slow, dancey electro stuff. I wasn’t a huge fan of this set mainly because most of the songs he played were hard to dance to. There was usually no steady rhythm with which you could move to. Additionally, about halfway through his set he turned into some sort of radio host. He said distracting stuff into the microphone between each song. “New shit,” “Shout out to Porter Robinson,” “Shout out to Ta-Ku,” “New stuff right here.” I swear he must have sent a shout out to each least seven different artists. He did do some random singing that I found went well with the tracks he was playing and was fairly entertaining. However, all in all, I was not heartbroken to see him leave the stage.

Then Giraffage took the stage. He was humble as hell, speaking really quietly into the microphone: “hi guys….” pause for applause, “my name is Giraffage” another pause for applause, “I’m gonna play some music for you” and then he got into it. I, as well as many others in the crowd, was very happy to hear him play a lot of his older tracks, most of which were off of the “Comfort” album. Thankfully he did not follow in Spazzkid’s footsteps and blurt random crap into the microphone; he let the music do the talking. His set had enough groovy songs to get people dancing, only ever interrupted by build ups and drops. He played a couple of really old EDM tracks that were popular like seven years ago. I wasn’t super into this but I guess other people were. I have to admit that the bass was definitely not loud enough on the speakers, or perhaps the treble was too loud, but either way there were some sounds that were just too abrasive and some drops that just didn’t slap hard enough.

His set ended after about an hour, and then after leaving the stage momentarily, he was summoned by the crowd for an encore, which he utilized to play his Janet Jackson remix of “Someone to Call My Lover”. This is my favorite Giraffage track so naturally I was pretty stoked when he played it. After the song ended he received another well-deserved round of applause and the show was over. I enjoyed myself, and it seemed that other people did as well. I would see him again if given the chance.


Harrison MacDonald

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Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Show Review: Jessica Lea Mayfield Rocks the Croc

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An audience member stares wistfully at a television screen, modified to display “Evening Bell”

Above the restless crowd, Evening Bell entered the stage. Each of them brandishing their instrument of expertise, duo Hart Kingsbery and Caitlin Sherman stood confidently in front of drummer Jason Merculief and bassist Aaron Harmonson. The band picked up as the lights came on, harmonies ringing out over the Crocodile’s killer sound system!

Simple and sweet, the singers took turns leading us in song. Kingsbery’s guitar pierced through the air like jet streams in a clear blue sky while Sherman’s voice blended into the tone of her keyboard. The combination of her instrument and vocals created a clear contrast to the guitar’s distinct wavy-ness. Meanwhile, the keyboard’s piano-like tone generated a Jazzy demeanor above the Country-Western vibe.

Each song would begin with a guitar or piano riff, the sound of which would result in a cheer from the audience as they recognized their favorite tracks from this local band. While we sang and danced along to the frontmen, Merculief and Harmonson rocked out subtly from behind. Harmonson sported a cowboy hat and a big red bow tie, he smiled as his rhythms echoed through the small concert venue. Throughout the set, Merculief moved us through the various styles of music. His most amazing moments, however, stood out during keyboard and guitar solos. His beats reverberated below the dynamic synths and riffs, providing a solid basis for Sherman and her voice. Long instrumental moments also showcased the drums as they shifted in and out of focus.

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Evening Bell plays another hometown country duet

“Thank you so much for listening,” Sherman closed the show through a smile. “That was fun!” Kingsbury added. We cheered as they grabbed their television and left the stage.

As we waited for the headliner, the fog grew thicker and thicker. Seen through the haze, Jessica Lea Mayfield grabbed one of her five guitars and plugged it into her smorgasbord of pedals. Reverberating and intense, her guitar joined in with the bass until the entire band built to intensity. All the while, drummer Matt Martin, wearing a tattered collared shirt and drums, remained relaxed yet determined.

As the instrument turned up, Jesse Newport’s bass became distorted under Mayfield’s ever present guitar – her arpeggios ringing out between lamenting lyrics. They drew us in with inconsistent rhythm, possessing the presence of a poetry slam and the power of an arena show. Beneath her echoing voice, the three musicians rocked out to every chord progression under the sun.  

Their tone and musical expertise fit Seattle’s sound like an old glass slipper – their presentation like Nirvana if Kurt Cobain owned a pair of sparkly boots. 

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Jessica Lea Mayfield “and band” start off with a bang!

They played three songs in a row, each leading straight into the next. As a song would end the drums and bass would slow down on Mayfield’s cue. Turning around, she would play in tandem with her band – all three of them looking intensely at one another. As the last song fell to a silence, Martin and Newport quietly exited the stage.

“I’m gonna do a song by myself. It’s called ‘Party Drugs.’ It’s off my new record.” After explaining the origin to the song, she started back into the entrancing mix of guitar and vocals – sans bass and drums. A little more controlled, the solo song showed off Mayfield’s artistic control, manipulating the reverberation of her voice and guitar, relying on every resonating note to carry into the next.

After that song, the band joined Mayfield back on stage. She complimented the gentleman in the front for being so polite and, taking off her jacket and adorning another guitar, she amazed us as the lights reflected off her guitar strap and bright green eyes. Looking towards the audience, she saw through us all as we watched her emotions fly out above us.

After playing a new song called, “Seeing Stars,” Mayfield introduced Jesse Newport as her husband. As we cooed and Jesse picked up his guitar, Jessica lifted her head slightly to introduce the next song, “this is the first screwed up love song I wrote about him.” We laughed and cheered as we breathed the whiffs of red bull and vodka – a staple scent of the Crocodile dance floor. The lighting changed and Jessica’s melancholy lyrics picked up again with a song she couldn’t help but smile about. The two guitars layered themselves perfectly as Mayfield’s slow strokes accented Newport’s quick and rhythmic strums. “You’ve got a stranglehold on my heart,” she sang as she cleverly depicted the hardships of new relationships and their unforeseeable potential.

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Grunge rock and sparkles. Jessica’s studded strap shines brightly through the haze

In the front row, Jessica pointed out a couple who she thought was being particularly cute. “Looks like you had a good valentines day,” she said. “I’m gonna ruin that,” she quickly added. After our laughs subsided, she explained the meaning of her next song. “I spent some time trying to plan my death but then I wondered if I had enough time to do all the things I needed to do around the house first.” We laughed. “And that was enough time to write down a song about how ridiculous that was”

The music grew louder and the audience’s smiling and blushing diminished to head bobbing. The husband and wife stepped closer to one another, their instruments almost touching as they continued to play some “bummer shit,” as Mayfield later described. She played “I Can’t Lie To You” with her distorted black guitar. The guitar and bass shouted every note as each doubled the melody. The band broke into our consciousness with their impeccable song writing ability – each moment providing a dramatic contrast in sound from the last. The drums provided a segue between these distinct moments with their ability to move from loud to quiet with just one gradual cymbal.

After the song appeared to end – a short applause had followed – Jessica’s guitar tears through the speakers. The music picks up and continues until we’re begging for more. Unfortunately, there was only time for one more. The band played their last song, “No Fun” – their musical ability never faltering. The guitar seemed to have control over bass and drums, as each remained in sync with the Mayfield’s rhythm. The song ended cutely and cleanly as the musical married couple kissed during the last guitar solo.

In a true Valentine’s Day spirit, Jessica invited the cute couple she had previously called out up onto the stage. Nervously, the drunk audience members pulled themselves out of the crowed and joined Mayfield in the spotlight. She asked if they knew the words and the women nodded furiously in response. As the song began, however, it became obvious that her date may have forgotten a few lyrics. Mouth closed, he danced silently around the stage – at one point approaching the drums with a smirk, only to walk away sheepishly as the song subsided.

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Two excited audience members dance and sing along on stage for the encore performance

Through our laughs, Jessica closed the show. She even stayed around for a bit to drink with the crowd! Be sure to check out her website for new music, tour updates, and more!

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DJ Desman

Sasquatch! 2015: Launch Party (Show Review)

Last weekend, I waited in line for two hours – playing guitar, drawing with strangers, and even taking a picture with “sasquatch”:

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Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of using one of my (two!) free tickets to see a collection of chaotic, clever, and comedic acts. This was the Sasquatch Launch party – a random pageant of madness and fun that resulted in the release of the all-anticipated line-up!

Comedian, Chris Gethard, opened the show with an enthusiastic display of his tattoos and mental health issues. We laughed and he smiled, and we waited – through the sounds of Star Wars cantina music – for The Young Evils to perform.

Adorned in a Macklemore “My City’s Filthy” shirt, The Young Evils’ Mackenzie Mercer entered the stage, followed by Troy Nelson, Michael Lee, and Scott and Brendon Helgason. Slow at first, Lee’s guitar put us all into a trance – the band’s Black Sabbath-like breakdowns providing an outlet for us to rock out!

The Young Evils start off the show with a bang!

Their next few songs sounded like a surfer-pop weekend playlist with some Ramones thrown in. Mercer and Nelson stared at each other occasionally before turning to their mics to sing their teenage indie-gaze pop songs. “We keep running in circles,” they wailed over the wavy bass line.

Throughout their performance, The Young Evils maintained this surfer rock vibe. Mercer’s hands clapped to the innocuous rhythm. Buzzy and popping, Brendon’s bass led the rhythm – Scott’s drums keeping up with its dramatic kicks and snares. All the while, Mackenzie Mercer and Michael Lee enticed us with their solos as they sang and danced around the stage.

They played a brand new song to the audience’s enjoyment. Mercer came closer to the edge of the stage, the front row girls bobbing their heads to the rhythm. As the song continued to build, it would quickly move into The Young Evil’s characteristic breakdowns – hard and heavy chords breaking through deadly drums with electric guitar riffs thrown in haphazardly.

After thanking us, the band began a duet between the two frontmen.  "Dearly beloved,“ Nelson announced, "we are gathered here today to see the Tacocat, Ty Segall, and to see the rise of the scorch”

As we cheered in slight confusion, we picked up right back to where we left off. Bass shaking the floor, the frontmen sang in unison above crowd while short and sweet solos weaved in and out of the fluid verses.

Taking the maraca from the drummer, Mercer strutted to the front of the stage. She danced to the rhythm and her right hand joined in. While Michael Lee ooh-ed and aah-ed in the distance, the band sang in chorus until a quick switch sent the guitarist shredding as the song faded away.

Warped guitar and a reminiscent summer-time vibe filled the rest of the performance. After a quick announcement about what was coming up in the show, a melancholy guitar entered the mix. Despite lyrics like, “dead animals is what we’ll become,” the music brought us to life – the crowd moving their bodies with the tide of the music.

After a final song and a bit of cantina music (again), a Sasquatch montage video appeared before us. A distorted voice announced how amazing the festival was going to be before advertising ziibra.com/sasquatch – a media subscription that gives people a behind-the-scenes look at the building of Sasquatch!

Chris returned to the stage for another comedic break. He was astounded by how excited we get about free things. So, he “gave away free shit!” In response, one member of the audience screamed, “free stuff rules!”

Cue more cantina music (seriously, the same song), then along came Tacocat! Struggling to find their things in the dark, the band began to mic check and drink their beers. After the band tuned their instruments, bassist Bree McKenna described their first song to the applause of the audience.

The foursome did nothing but enthuse as they danced and sang in tandem

We all swung our hips and moved our lips in unison – oohs and ahhs echoing throughout the room. In a t-shirt and jeans, guitarist Eric Randall casually played until technical difficulties stopped him from doing so.

“We think the Neptune is haunted,” frontman Emily Nokes explained as Randall attempted to fix his amplifier. The awkward empty air provided a great time for stage banter as drummer Lelah Maupin recalled her favorite story about a cat that didn’t die. “The only lesson we have to learn from Bartok the Miracle Cat,” she concluded, “is that it proves that pet cemetery is real!”

Magically, the technical difficulties were resolved! “Fuck you Neptune…” Nokes yelled, “-ghost!” she quickly added with a smile. As the band played their breakout single, “Bridge to Hawaii”, orange lights reflected off of Emily’s watermelon dress and Bree’s bright white and studded guitar. Lelah danced in the rhythm, her head leading her body in waves of intensity.

After a quick break for a drink of beer, Tacocat started to play a more intense set as the song “sk8 or die” caused the audience to start to mosh. Lelah’s commentary broke up the intensity. “The only thing I remember seeing here was Juno…” she said. “Twice!” the Emily quickly added. “Twice,” Lelah responded.

“She has the soundtrack on vinyl,” Eric remembers to announce. With a turn and a smile, Lelah responded with a gleeful, “That’s true!”

With a laugh, the band started playing their next song like before – Bree’s bass moving our muscles and Eric’s guitar blowing our minds. All the while, simple riffs flew right by Emily’s voice as she danced in a ska-like jig.

“Psychedelic Quincerniera,” was announced by Bree through a smile. The whole time, Maupin kicked ass! Throughout the song, she never stopped moving, despite the infrequent discourse of the crackling guitar. Even through the continual technical difficulties, the song ended with with a big, trippy Mexican guitar riff.

Reveling in the awkwardness, The band made a series of jokes including “that signature tacocat sound… Crunch!” said through a Noke’s ear-to-ear smile.

“I have a joke!” Lelah announced, “The busty crustacean joke!” Those who had previously attended the band’s shows cheered – a member of the audience even giving the answer to the drummer’s innocuous riddle.

The set continued and crowd favorite after favorite caused us to reminisce and cheer. Occasionally a crackled guitar would scream out above the mix and we would smile with the lead singer as she commented on “how beautiful the Neptune was.”

Throughout the set, the guitar continued to crackle but Randall played through it, never ceasing his harmonies for Noke’s catchy melodies. Meanwhile, I found myself wondering how Maupin could be so cute yet so menacing! Her sparkles shaking off with every bead of sweat, she smiled maliciously as she sang, “this is anarchy” and other clever one-liners.

For their last song, a man-sized lobster joined the band on stage as he began to dance alongside Emily. The crowd went wild with energy, once again moshing in the center of the floor.

In a surge of energy, the band left the stage and the lineup announcement began. We cheered as familiar names scrolled across the screen and was met with the same enthusiasm as Chris, the comedian, re-entered the stage. In case you missed it yesterday, check out nilorap’s full coverage of the lineup in our Rainy Blawg article.

Chris Gethard presents us with more free stuff!

Ty Segall entered the stage with nothing but a hard-shell acoustic guitar case in his hand. Adjusting the mic to his guitar, he lets us know that he’d be playing an acoustic set. The guitar propped up on his knee, Segall kept his impeccable instrumental skill as he sang along so fluidly. Quieter than the other performers, Segall kept us interested with his unorthodox lyricism and devilishly detailed guitar parts.

Segall commanded the stage with nothing but a guitar and a notebook

He played us a bunch of songs, both new and old. From some that were untitled to favorites like “Crazy,” Segall never let down his Led Zeppelin demeanor and face that might as well be Kurt Cobain’s during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set.

“This song is about my girlfriend” he said, before forgetting the chords and starting over. We laughed as he continued to sing the song, “Sleeper.” He moved his capo around his guitar as he decided which songs to play. He played us stories on his guitar, his lyrics bringing us into his universe – where every moment is precious and every person has their own world of importance.

He stopped playing to continue his story, connecting it with yet another song. “she said she wants to buy a couch” he sings. We laugh at his humor which remained interspersed throughout his lyrics.

“I’m gonna keep going with this theme of consumption,” he finally states, “this one is called Manipulators.” We ooed with him between verses and reveled in his relaxed demeanor. At one point, a man in the front row – later to be known as Sean – requested his favorite song and Ty obliged, his casual niceness and cheer flowing out until the end of the event.

When I left the show, I felt like I had just been to a friend’s house. It was strange since the event was free and there was nothing keeping us there except our love of the music. These artists felt the same vibe and rocked with us throughout the night! If anything, this sort of approach to music performance gives me hope for the beautiful time that will be Sasquatch! 2015.

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DJ Desman