Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Mezzanine Owls at Spaceland
I thought April was a busy month. May is ridiculous with Le Switch at the Echo and Mezzanine Owls at Spaceland every Monday as well as the usual stacked line ups for the Indie 103.1 sponsored Check One.Two. at the Viper Room. I often wish I can have be at three places at once. This particular line up at Spaceland was too good to pass up as the inclusion of Minipop tipped the scales in favor of showing up at Spaceland.
I made sure I was at Spaceland early to catch In Waves. I have closely followed the progress of In Waves since I saw them in December of 2007 at the Viper Room. Unfortunately, Jimmy Strange (Guitars/Vocals) was feeling under the weather and his vocals were not one hundred percent. Even though the vocals were not up to normal strength, the music continues to improve as their new drummer Delano Duran seemed more confident as they played a sharp set. The drowning reverb of "Careful Talk" bounced around the room as Tim Gregorio cut loose on his Fender Bass. Jimmy was creating his usual dense clouds of sound on a Fender Mustang as they worked through a number of songs from their debut album due in the summer. I imagine they will quickly get their own residency shortly after its release. The haunting echoes of "Sometime After" closed their set as I still found myself hoping they would have played one more song.
Wait Think Fast
I was not to familiar with Wait Think Fast but I figured if they are endorsed by the Mezzanine Owls I would give them a chance. Wait Think Fast combines multiple influences into a varied musical stew. Some of the possible reference points would be a female fronted Echo and The Bunnymen and The Smiths with an ethnic twist. Jacqueline Santillan's (Vocals/Keyboards) vocals hover like clouds above the firmly rooted post punk influenced guitars. They are playing the Echoplex with Helio Sequence and Talkdemonic on June 14th, which is one heck of a bill.
I knew it wouldn't be long before the Mezzanine Owls would get their residency at Spaceland. Their latest release on Jaxart records is painful only in that it is too short and I am aching for a new full length release.
Bundles of blue lights shone across the stage as the droning notes of "Drift" floated throughout Spaceland as Pauline Mu (Drums) added cymbal splashes to the fill out their dense sound. Their version of "Ghost Ship" was the most rocking version to date with Jonathan Zeitlin (Guitars) adding wobbly tremolo guitars to the fast paced rocker. "Lightbulb" was one of my favorite songs from 2007 and Jack Burnside (Vocals/Guitars) nailed it spot on. I would also like to add Jonathan didn't have his Roland Space Echo but was tweaking a batch of pedals on his sonic wizardry workbench obscured from my view. "Moving Ground" also followed an accelerated pace as Jonathan switched over to his Korg MS2000 to provide ambient washes of sound. "Wake Up" floated between calm and stormy as the metal slide guitar work was out of this world with extra delay and feedback added to my delight. A new song from the Mezzanine Owls was instantly memorable with layers of synthesizers and guitar feedback mashed together like a tasty smore. "Snow Globe" punctuated a set as I spotted a dance pit break out during the song. Mezzanine Owls will play with Film School in San Francisco as they both open for Swervedriver on May 29th. If I didn't already have tickets for The Cure in Santa Barbara, I would make the trip up north.
It is hard to believe the last time I caught up with Minipop was back in February of 2007. Minipop played to quite a large audience for the late slot at Spaceland. Those who chose to stick around were treated to a delightful sugar spun set from Minipop. "A New Hope" is their latest release and sparkles with crystalline guitars and the lush vocals of Tricia Kanne (Guitars/Vocals). Matthew Swanson (Guitars/Keyboards) was a busy man switching between triggering samples and the occasional synthesizer riff while playing his hollowbody guitar. The lights were extremely low for their set but I noticed some intriguing patterns projected on Tricia. I looked up to see various images from the classic movie Tron. The tortuous and swirling guitars of "Like I Do" intoxicates and delights at the same time as they perfectly frame the passionate vocals of Tricia. The proverbial cherry on top was a jaw dropping cover of "Black Metallic" by Catherine Wheel as Tricia strummed the dreamy chords on her Fender Telecaster with a capo on the second fret. I can only say that those who stuck around were absolutely floored.