Last Saturday night, March 7, 2009, I was off to Glendale for an evening at The Scene where Seasons were headlining. I tagged along with another band I wanted to see again, The Happy Casualties, and Steve Sigl joked that they like to bring the press with them.
It proved to be an evening of expected and unexpected pleasures. Throwing the schedule right out the window, the first band, Collisions, was done when we arrived, so I saw Republic of Letters first. They played a poppy brand of indie rock with strong vocal harmonies reflective of the San Diego scene they're a part of. Being partial to that sound, I found the band to have solid writing and performing skills that were easily digestible.
By now Seasons had arrived and they whisked me backstage to chat a while. This band has been very good to me, bringing me and Jon Hershfield together so I can write for Isgoodmusic and support that worthy enterprise. They've promoted me to their fans, and now that I'll be lending my voice to Radio Free Silver Lake, they were ecstatically supportive. I'll be forever grateful to this bunch.
Seasons performed with less members than I've ever seen before, but the sound was every bit as big and impressive as when there are 14 of them on stage. It must be the quality of the material. I've given this band so many raves I must sound like a broken record. But when a band continues to startle and amaze me time after time, well, what am I supposed to do?
I love hearing the new material as they keep churning out hit after hit, including "666, Mark of the Beat", which I think is one of their very best songs so far. It just makes me anxious for their new EP, due out on April 10.
They also sang excellent renditions of "Sea", "India", and a wonderful song by John, "Mailbox". All performed with the usual array of strung green and blue lights contrasting beautifully with the warm orange glow bathing the stage. The visual is always an important element in Seasons' cinematic stage presence.
The other bands this evening continued to expand the range of styles we were treated to. Jonesin' are a musical duo who look like a couple having a fine old time in he privacy of their playroom, but allowing us to share in it. They sing these kind of sing-songy ditties with lots of Sondheimesque back and forth vocal interplay that was both theatrical, yet easily amusing and unpretentious. It helps that they are both genuinely talented performance artists.
Another band was Co-op, who are like O'Death on steroids. Loud walls of noise, interrupted by free-style shouting matches between three vocalists, one who assaults an accordion, adding a gypsy element. Really fresh and original sounding music and an unexpected surprise. Their lead singer also reminded me a little of a mad genius singer in the manner of Aaron Weiss of MewithoutYou, except really angry.
The evening ended with The Happy Casualties and they lived up to the promise I saw in them the first time. This is a real fun and straightforward rock and roll band, which also makes eminently danceable music. They play a classic style of earnest rock that still works, but with an important underlying sense of irony.
Steve Sigl is a charismatic lead who sings rock and roll with assurance and conviction. His band mates, Paul Hewitt and Ryan Blandford are a good match and they form a solid trio, and they really rock. The songwriting is also strong and lyrically adventurous and intelligent.
Their direct approach is even found in the song titles, like "Play Nice", "You Won't Find Me" and "Faithless Companion". Of course, I especially love "Hope", which begins with that incredible riff from Jefferson Airplane's "Volunteers". A band after my heart.
There are some wonderful videos from this evening by the fabulous Elaine Layabout here. Check them out.