Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ser Punto Cero, Memento Mori and Diztorzion Paranormal at Cheves and Beer - with Mariachi!

My daughters know the guitarist in Ser Punta Cero (which I mangled into Ser.0, oops), so I booked them for a Veracity show and enjoyed getting to see them play. I friended the band members on Facebook and heard they were playing a Spring show locally put on by the Seattle Latin Collective. I've seen some great videos of SLC shows posted by Omar Taboada (they are worth checking out) which made me want to check one out for myself, so I had the perfect opportunity.
Seattle's Latin music scene doesn't get much attention in the press, which is unfortunate. From the videos I've seen there are plenty of talented local Latin bands, and local live talent is one of my favorite things.
The first band up was Diztorzion Paranormal out of Yakima. They had 2 guitarists and a drummer, slightly unusual instrument combination, the vocalist tended to play low end parts on his guitar so he was almost playing bass parts. SP0 127 Fast, slightly thrashy rough rock and roll, nice stuff. The drummer is very active on this song, filling the low end nicely:
I enjoy good rock music, even when I don't understand the language - the emotion still comes through, and the backbeat makes you move.
One of the bands had to cancel, so they had a Mariachi band fill in. One of our friends at the table (they mostly spoke the language, I was the only mono-lingual person at the table) told me they were going to have Mariachi Karaoke and asked me if I was going to go up and sing. That made me laugh, and if I had known just how amazing the actual Mariachi Karaoke performers were going to be, I'd have laughed even harder.
SP0 910
The band had a deep catalog of fast intricate music, with horns and violins/fiddles and guitars and lots of vocals. Several members shared vocals, then they had guest vocalists from the audience sing songs too. This was the Karaoke aspect. The singers from the audience were all impressive, with powerful voices and a good command of vibrato.
Wonderful stuff, and they played a good solid set of moving, powerful songs.
The karaoke wrapped up and Ser Punto Cera took the stage for the headlining set. SP0 749.SP0 767
Ser Punto Cera has a classic power trio lineup and gets a good guitar oriented sound, a little more on the spacey/droney side in this example:
On this one they drive the drone more to an interesting edgy, agitated sound.
For a dive bar rock and roll experience, this one stands out a bit. Notice in the Ser Punto Cera videos they have each of the 3 "home locations" for the musicians covered with bright lights that they switch on and off. They have a fairly careful placement of lights to enhance the stage performance, and they also put some effort into the look and are developing a more consistent sound. Perhaps consistent isn't quite the right word, since they change the sound from song to song. They're developing their own sound, which has an interesting range. SP0 740

Good loud rock music and Mariachi Karaoke - the Seattle Latin Collective delivered a fun Spring experience, with the music in Spanish and the beer in two languages to start the Spring music season off right.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Men, Dude York, CCR Headcleaner and Big Eyes at the Vera Project

After attending the pop conference at the EMP Saturday morning and afternoon I headed over to the Vera Project and set the tripod up for the show. I was there pretty early so I got to listen to the sound checks and hang around a while, then Big Eyes took the stage right on time at 8:30. Big Eyes play the Vera Project Big Eyes has a power trio lineup with the guitarist also singing. Good guitar oriented sound, nicely active high end from the drummer and a good solid low end from the bass, nice guitar riffs driving the songs along, good vocal hook too on the first song here. I also enjoyed the solo about 2:20 in, a good contained solo, old school sort of stuff that stays within the song structure and adds nicely to the song - tasty. Fun set, and we were just getting started.

Next up was CCR Heacleaner. In a musical context, when I see CCR I think of Credence Clearwater Revival. I can't say the music sounded like it was inspired by that CCR or anything along those lines. CCR Headcleaner play the Vera Project They had 3 guitars, bass and drums. They play songs with unconventional structures, sections of slower tempo building and ebbing, multiple vocals on occasion, and fairly complex song structures. They were working out some different sounding approaches, definitely doing and creating their own thing.

Up next was Dude York. I hadn't heard them before, but the bass player was in Natalie Portman's Shaved Head/Brite Futures so I'd seen her quite a few times and was looking forward to seeing her new band. .
Dude York had a power trio lineup as well. The first song on this video has pretty aggressive, driving beat and a more angular sound than Big Eyes, the earlier power trio. They cranked out some edgy tunes, more from the punk side of the spectrum perhaps - powerful fast songs, not too long. I was happy to hear old friends in new sounding bands I've been seeing Dude York getting booked quite bit locally, so it looks like they're doing pretty well which is even better.

The Men took the stage for their headlining set. The Men at the Vera The had 3 guitars, an acoustic and two electric, along with the bass and drums. The acoustic guitar player also played  keyboards on occasion.

I like the way the meld the guitars together in this one. Nice beat and prominent guitar placement in the turnarounds, good vocals that are easy to pick out, nice song structure. Interesting music, fairly uptempo, I even enjoy the "la la la la-la la" bit towards the end of the song. Goof stuff!

The transition from song to song is also reasonably brisk, so they packed quite a bit of music into a moderate sized set. I didn't get to stay to the end of their set, since I had to catch the bus (which got stuck in traffic so I missed the transfer and got stuck downtown, but that's a different story). I enjoyed what I saw, and it was nice seeing Claire's new gig in Dude York and hearing 4 bands that are new to me that all are doing interesting things is always fun.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Defunked, Marina Beat and Junk Drawer at the Vera Project

I signed up to steer the Defunked show at the Vera Project without knowing anything about the bands, pretty much par for the course for me. We had a small volunteer crew but we handled things well enough and Junk Drawer took to the stage to open things up. I enjoyed their set quite a bit. They had guitar, bass, keyboards, drum, and vocals, a nice sound and a good group vibe. Junk Drawer at the Vera Project

Here's a nice number they did: The lead singer said something like "if you don't like this song's genre, just hang on a minute and it'll change with the next song" which was amusing. I got a chance to talk to her a bit between acts and she told me the different interests of the members of the band drove that wide selection of genres - the punk bass player, classic rock guitarist, jazz keyboardist - I'm misquoting her to some degree, I ought to take notes since I know I'm going to be blogging about it. I also thought from her shout-out to Riverside and the headliners that her band was from Riverside, it was more along the lines of several members were from there sometime back, they're a local northwest band.

Next up was Marina Beat
The Marina Beat
Marina Beat has dual guitars (strats), bass and drums, and a nice fast upbeat rock sound:

They played several songs I liked, this one is "Hey Josephine"

Two talented bands already, and the headliners perform with a horn section - I love horn sections!
Defunked took the stage, and they filled it. The horn section with two saxophones and a trumpet along with 2 guitars (1 Strat style and 1 Les Paul style), bass and guitar. Defunked at the Vera They play fast loud rock and roll with a punchy horn section and plenty of noise and pounding to make you want to bounce around and work up a sweat. Nice stuff with that kick-in-the-rear beat that makes you want to move in time with it. Fun rhythm changes, ska sounding guitars, it opens a bit more punk, moves more ska in the middle, then back to that punk fast thrashy beat.

I like the breakdown that leads into this one, and the different paces that rise up, giving it a back and forth feeling. It switches back out to that slower feeling beat, more tentative or pent up, then back to the main beat - and the second horn breakdown around 2:00 in is pretty killer. They also just nail the ending, fun song done extremely well. I like this stuff!

Fun show with three talented bands, I hope these bands are able to connect with the kind of solid fan base they deserve, the music they cranked out was fun and makes you want to bring others to hear it. At it's best, it demands to be danced to, and I just love a good funky band that plays fun music that irresistibly gets you moving.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Internet Memes: Brony

My son turned me on to "My Little Ponies" and the Brony movement. The "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" cartoons are watched without irony and the music is listened to obsessively. In addition to the cartoons, there is a whole universe of media - similar to fan fiction, but with music and storyboards and the occasional animated bit. Ben listens to a wide variety of musicians doing an odd assortment of styles - with plenty of dubstep, for some reason.

While attending last month's Steering committee meeting at the Vera Project, Beth mentioned they had a Brony show coming up. I checked with Ben and signed us up for the show. Music about rainbow colored horses with tatooed buts and occasional wings or horns, couldn't be much odder than the wizard rock show we saw.

The show was put on by the Everfree Northwest folk. They run a yearly convention for My Little Pony fans and use this event to build some excitement and sell some convention tickets. I enjoy the brightly colored hair and horse ears.
Early April 100

The show kicked off with Tarby, who played guitar and sang with a saxophone player accompanying him. Tarby at the Vera Project
Interesting sound, I managed to get a bit of video of the performance here:

Next up we had Maestro Scherzo playing something in the alto sax or oboe range, a reed instrument, anyway. Definitely getting plenty of reed instruments!

Speaking of plenty of reed instruments, the Cutie Marks and Donn Devore (I'm torn, the show schedule said Don DeVore, but a YouTube video said Donn DeVore) set had one too. Don DeVore and Cutie Marks at the Vera Project

I enjoy the beat and the sound in this one:

The final act was DJ Everfree. He had some fun laser effects; I didn't video tape his set but I took some pictures.
DJ Everfree at the Vera Project
The audience also put on a show with the wigs, t-shirts, and lots of pony ears sticking out on top of everybody's hair. It was somewhat odd and silly, but earnest and non-ironic, and actually quite fun and different. Just like My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the Brony movement in general, kind of hard for an old fossil like me to process. My 15 year old who is bigger than me and needs to shave watches juvenile cartoons and appreciates their message, and then he listens to Brony music. Rainbow colored cartoons. With ponies and unicorns and some have wings and many have magic. Then lots of 8 bit music and dubstep and pop and disco all about ponies. The Vera show didn't cover all of those genres, but it gave us some fun music and songs about ponies and friendship and magic. Totally new genre for me, which is all good as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Live Music at the Lake Trail Tap Room

I've wandered past the Lake Trail Tap Room several times in the last year, even went in to the yard and checked it out a little, but I only stuck my head into the bar and didn't order anything. I knew they had live music - I ended up Facebook friending Jeremy Serwer, a local singer/guitarist I saw at the Musiquarium Lounge last year, and later he mentioned playing there.

I just thought he played outdoors in the yard. This week I figured out that I was wrong. The weather was nice and Heather wanted to get out of the house, so we took a walk down to the Burke-Gilman trail. We usually go West, towards Lake Washington, but this time we went East a little to the Lake Trail Tap Room and walked in and checked it out more thoroughly. We ordered a nice local microbrew while we were at it. It looked like they were serving tasty pulled pork sandwiches too, but I stuck with the beer.

While we got a table in the small tap room and sipped the beer, a few people came out of a door on the opposite - interior - side of the tap room. I realized that there was a further public space, and the familiar Pink Floyd music I was hearing was being played live. Heather and I picked up the beer and walked into the music area - I had no idea it even existed! It's still a little cool in early Spring, and we noticed a wood stove in the corner that was pumping out some heat and took seats near it. I hadn't come prepared to see live music, so I only got fairly lousy cell phone pictures.
I didn't catch who the performer was, but we had a nice discussion about Pink Floyd - it's the 40th anniversary of "Dark Side of the Moon" and that was a seminal album for me as an adolescent. It also had ridiculous staying power, never dropping off the charts well into my adulthood over a decade later. I mentioned seeing Floyd back in the old Kingdome on the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour and again on the Division Bell tour, he mentioned seeing Nick Mason getting interviewed, and we both silently acknowledged just how important that band was to us. He played Breath, The Dark Side of the Moon, and others, and it was quite pleasant listening to the theme songs of my adolescence and drinking a potent hoppy local microbrew with the wood burning stove warming up my backside.

I'll definitely have to catch some more shows there, and next time be prepared with cameras and take notes on who's playing and such. According to their web site the tap room has free live music every Friday and Saturday. I always figured it was less frequent, and I had no idea it was an indoor venue. I should see more shows now that I realize I'm a 5 minute walk from  free show every Friday and Saturday night. Pretty cool. I recommend you check the Trailside Tap Room out, they allow dogs and kids in the yard and the performance area (not the bar), they have outdoor fire pits once it gets dark, good food and nice drinks, and they are right on the Burke-Gilman trail if you are a biking enthusiast.