Sunday, November 13, 2011

Future Islands, Ed Schrader's Music Beat and Sports at the Vera Project

Saturday was a busy day, I had to run down to the Vera Project early in the afternoon to report to the Vera Project board meeting as the Veracity chair, then I checked out the "Short Run" small book publisher's fair while I was there.
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The picture above is just a small area, they had tables up all over the venue in the lobby and the show room, plus animations showing back in the green room. I ended up buying a few interesting zines and comics, then heading home to pick up Ben and his friends to head down to the evening show. I was steering and the boys were all volunteering. We had a big crew of volunteers so the boys weren't working too hard for sure!
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The music was good and the crowd was reasonably large and engaged - we got more dancing at this show than we usually get, which always makes me enjoy the show more.

The first band to take the stage was Sports.
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Sports had a nice dancey vibe, quite enjoyable, and it kept the audience moving.

The drummer had a minimal set, one cymbal, a snare and a bass drum, but he worked the heck out of it. I commented to some of the volunteers on how minimal the drums were, but the next band topped that pretty easily!
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Ed Schrader's Music Beat had a dude playing one drum and singing and a bass player, a pretty minimal setup.

They got a solid full sound for such a minimal setup, which was cool. The lighting effect with the single light under the drum was interesting too. I looked them up on YouTube ahead of time and listened to "I Can't Stop Eating Sugar" which was a fun song:

Next Future Islands took the stage for the headline set.
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They had a slightly non-standard lineup, with a guitarist, a keyboard, and a singer. They used sequencers for the drums, I assume.

They had an interesting lighting setup with floodlights in various colors around the stage, occasionally it's hard to see what's going on on the videos. Interesting sound, the vocalist has a good range of tones available to him which drew my attention. The vocalist also had some different moves, frequently squatting down pretty low which made him a bit hard to see from the audience on occasion, but he drew your eye and kept your attention.

So I saw a good variety of interesting stuff at the Vera; I'm not sure exactly what you call the music from the last 2 acts, but I definitely enjoyed it, and so did the audience. They hung around a fair bit after the show, visiting with the bands and buying merchandise, so everyone went home happy - I like it when things go well.

November Veracity

The November Veracity was the second show I've ever booked and it turned out well. We got three different interesting acts.
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First up was "Seven Diels". I had originally booked 2 bands, then Tristan (the regular booker for the Vera project) got an e-mail on Monday from the kids in Seven Diels asking about getting booked for a show, which he forwarded to me. The link to them performing on YouTube (see above link) was interesting and they were very young - in the 12 to 15 year old range. I offered them a slot on Wednesday - 2 days later - and they were happy to take it.
They played with a power trio lineup - guitar, bass and drums. The girl played guitar and sang while her brother's played bass and drums.

Amazingly tight for such a young band, interesting slow building songs The video is a little messed up though, it looks like my lens was dirty. Dang.
All of their songs were originals, too! When I checked their YouTube video on Monday and saw they were young, local, and doing original songs, I also sent them a link to the EMP Sound-Off contest, they seem like a natural fit for that. Unfortunately Monday was the closing day for applications to compete early next year, so I figured it was probably too late. I was wrong though, they got the application completed including a few songs in a matter of hours, which was pretty impressive.

Next up was Messiah Complex. David Lewis plays bass with them and he's a Vera Member so it was nice getting them to play the venue.
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Messiah Complex is a heavy metal band with some of the screamish style vocals:

Once again a power trio arrangement, although heavier and thrashier than Seven Diels. Good music, nice beat, I enjoyed their set. I've always been fond of fast hard heavy metal, I grew up listening to it way back when.
There are plenty more songs from Seven Diels, Messiah Complex and Ser.0 (the final act) available on my YouTube channel if you want to check them out.

As I mentioned, the final act was Ser.0. My daughter's roommate is the guitarist and I had them play a Veracity show in the Spring, so this was their second Veracity show. All 3 members of the band are from Mexico City originally, and the drummer just got back from an interesting trip to Mexico - I was able to see some of the highlights in pictures on his Facebook page.
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Yet another power trio - I guess that was the unintended theme of the night! They were somewhere between Seven Diels and Messiah Complex in approach: not metal and thrashy like Messiah Complex, but not quite as spacey and gentle as Seven Diels.

The Heather and Carina referred to in the intro are my kids, and Benito is my son in law, so I find the patter amusing. Here's another song they played:

I'm not sure I'm spelling the title correctly, but I enjoy the song.

Ser.0 has new songs that they haven't had a chance to practice yet with the drummer since he got back from Mexico so they did their older tunes at this show. They sound excited about the new material, hopefully I can catch them playing it at some point and post that!

Friday, November 4, 2011

October Retrospective

October is in the books, 10 of 12 months are complete and the year is rushing to a close. Wow!

The pace slowed down a bit once I got past Reverb Fest, and with no more festivals on the radar the pace will stay slowed down, but I still managed to see some excellent performances.

Sleeper Agent was great fun too:

and Shellac kicked ass!

...and that's just a few of the Vera acts, I also saw like 20+ performances at Reverb Fest in early October - an incredible value, less than 50 cents per act.

All kinds of quality local and regional acts.

Great fun, although our feet and legs got sore from dashing back and forth between venues and the stairs up into the Eagles venue eventually made me skip some acts I would've like to see, oh well.
I've managed to reach well over 365 total performances, but 15 of those were streamed over the Internet from the Nirvana 20th Anniversary benefit show - they perhaps shouldn't count. If I take those out I only have 363 performances through October.

I still need to 2 more to reach 365, so Ser.0 probably gets to be my 365th performance of the year.

I'll go to a few additional shows like Future Islands at the Vera and the December Veracity and Open Mic shows so I should get a bit above 370 without trying much.

I could see an additional dozen or so at the Vera if i worked at it, and there are always some free music opportunities around Christmas, but I've been tapering it down some for a few weeks. I'll see plenty more bands, but getting to huge numbers was a bit grueling. I'll mostly coast from here on out, thank you very much!

November Open Mic Night at the Vera Project

First Wednesday in November - the second - was Open Mic Night in the lobby of the Vera Project. It's a simple free event, people can sign up to perform from around 7 on, with the performances starting at 7:30. Attendance is light and the PA setup is minimal, a single mic channel is usualy all we need.
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Most of the music at the Open Mic is a singer/guitarist and tonight was no exception. We had a nice cover of Green Grass and Tumbleweeds by a talented acoustic guitarist/singer:

Very well done, nice song.

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Our MC was good, getting a solid chunk of love for assorted Vera programming options in quickly between acts.

The Dave he's introducing is me. I came up and told an old Neptune Theater story.

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Julia (she runs Open Mics and chairs Programming) was up next giving us some background and the poem inspired by the experience.

We also got to hear a recent composition done as poetry, the rhythms make me think of hip hop and rock a bit and I figure he's probably working towards a song with the material.

Nice work. We only got 4 acts so it went by pretty quickly. We'll have to see what we can do about getting more participation, the more the merrier!