Monday, August 25, 2008

Pre-Sunset Junction Friday

Thailand performed the best set yet that I've seen from them on Friday (August 22) during an informal pre-Sunset Junction show at Pehrspace. Playing for an appreciative crowd, I was surprised that Marc Linquist seemed surprised that the title of their new EP The Remote Controller Absorbs the Place drew applause from the audience. A couple of other bloggers and I had just been saying to each other we were all currently addicted to it and that it's probably, already, a year's best entry.

They ran through a set of songs, including one I'd never heard before, that showed how precise their live shows are. But this time, with the benefit of the perfect sound of Pehrspace, they had me grinning ear to ear the whole time.

Marc's vocals are just as on the recordings, only more so. He's a superlative rock vocalist, and when Staci Roark adds harmony, wow, what a gorgeous sound. And underneath all this is the great chugging throb of the songs themselves. Every one of their songs has burrowed its way into my subconscious and I believe their songwriting is some of the best in town. There isn't a bad melody or bad lyric in their whole repertoire.

This night they had assist from someone accompanying the usual drum machine and they worked together really well. Every song was great, but my particular favorites "Favorite Sun", "Heartland Failure" and "Control, Control" were played to perfection and great to hear live since I've become so familiar with them.

The audience was ecstatic.

I was happy to meet the band again and talk to Marc about the Thailand's previous recordings and plans for the future. I'll enjoy watching this much deserving band grow.

Nice to catch up with Mike Griffin of Tandemoro, who've been spending most time recently writing and recording rather than playing shows. But, he says, that will change and we'll be seeing more of them. Based on the show Friday, that will please their devoted fans, of whom as many as you could pack into Pehrspace were there. They jumped, danced (even slow-danced) and sang the lyrics back at the band during their high-energy set.

Their current lineup of five played solidly and sang well. The two Mikes, Griffin and Schanzlin, trading most vocal duties, sounded great, separately or together. They're both great singers. They sang many terrific cuts from the CD The Movers and The Shakers and some new ones, fueling anticipation for their new CD (currently available for download).

I had to leave before they finished because I knew Saturday would be a HUGE day at Sunset Junction, but I'll enjoy seeing them again soon.

The other band that night was The Hectors, who also play a very proficient indie-pop song featuring an arresting lead singer, Corinne Dinner, (who reminded me of Carrie) and a talented band. I don't really know the band's music well enough to offer an opinion except to say I liked what I heard.

All in all, a good fit with the other bands. Pehrspace has got to be one of the best venues to see and hear a band up close, almost in a living room environment. Also, special note to Joe Fielder (Radio Free Silver Lake), who handled DJ duties with his hallmark good taste.

And an addendum to the Boardner's writeup. I've had a chance to see some video of Xu Xu Fang that night shot by the great Elaine Layabout and it triggered my memory and brought it all back. What an extraordinary band and I'll just echo what Mouse said over at Classical Geek Theatre, this new lineup has made the band their own and Barbara Cohen is an incredible singer. We definitely need more recordings of Bobby Tamkins' visionary Xu Xu Fang.

And the remarkable song that Rob Danson sang during the Death to Anders acoustic set is called "Detective Surgery" and it has some of the srongest lyric writing I've heard this year.


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