Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June...So Far

I've seen some terrific bands so far this month, beginning with a fine set of new and older tunes by Alpine Decline (right) at 3 of Clubs back on June 1st. They opened the first show Radio Free Silver Lake held at LaBrie's last November when we began our Free Tuesday run, and they sent me an LP and a CD of their last album, Visualizations, which I was uncommonly fond of. That album begins with a hollow ringing sound, like some dial tone from outer space, that blanches your mind until a throbbing guitar and drumbeat pierce the eerie sound and a song forms from the wall of sound. And it's a good song that hooks you and you want to hear again.

Speaking with Pauline Mu and Jonathan Zeitlin of Alpine Decline before the show, they told me they already have a brand new album ready for release, and I can't wait. The songs they played from it were instantly likeable so I'll look forward to that. Unfortunately they came on last and quite late, and after two real bland bands, I was tired and left before they were finished. I hope to see them again soon.

Have to mention the two weeks (so far) of the Duniven residency that Radio Free Silver Lake is hosting (in the interest of full disclosure) over at Silver Lake Lounge every Monday this month. These shows have been so entertaining, and so well attended, it's difficult not to feel proud of the programs that Duniven has pulled together. Week one (June 6) featured a really powerful and deeply felt performance by Light FM. They sounded great. Followed by a typically hearty, rocking performance by Wet and Reckless. Duniven was hypnotic from the get go, pounding out song after song in a tightly controlled set that highlighted all the best of the band. Duniven's soulful and electrifying stage presence fronts a band of many equals. They seem very in tune with each other as a band and play off that well. Ceci Castelblanco adds tremendous vocal support that makes the music soar at times. (She was especially well miked at the second show on June 13th).

On the subject of the June 13th show, I walked in as the first band was playing. It was Harley of Red Cortez with a different band called The Petting Zoo. What began as a rather ordinary set ended up being one from which I had to peel myself off the ceiling. I probably saw about five songs and the last three were so powerful, and so good, I was amazed. You know how when the music is so good your breathe becomes labored? That was this. Fronting a band of seven other musicians, Harley brought his unique vocal style to a whole different sounding song. This was sweeping, loud, orchestral rock as fine as I think I've ever heard, with a cello (played by Brian) and two trumpets augmenting the usual assortment of guitars, bass and drums. The fact that this was their first performance was all that much more amazing. Among the musicians was the familiar face of Wendy Wang.

I found out they have another performance next Monday, June 20, but I don't know where...yet. I still can't attend because I want to be at the Duniven show again as a supporter. But I spoke to Harley after the show and made sure to let him know just how impressive this was. WOW, that's just a great example of how exciting discovering new music can be. Look for The Petting Zoo.

The other show was the fantastic The Belle Brigade, in a show at The Satellite last Friday, June 10th. Typical Friday night date crowd and I only knew one other person there, but we enjoyed the show immensely. He summed it up best when he said he always walks out of the club a foot off the ground. And I agree. Their energy and enthusiasm never fail to overwhelm the audience whenever they play. It was a wonderful performance and sets them off on a tour of the east coast, mid west and Canada. I got the chance to wish both Ethan and Barbara a safe trip.

The opener I saw was John Gold (on poster at right) and he performed a very fine set of gravelly, baritone sung rock and roll. And apart from the terrific vocals he also offered some poignant and pointed lyrics that I found interesting, wrapped in melodies I would like to hear again. I was very happy with that discovery.


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