Friday, May 23, 2008
Sleepercar and Gran Ronde at Spaceland
Gran Ronde has been in the midst of a Tuesday residency at Spaceland for the month of May and I could not pass up the huge line up of them playing with The Republic Tigers, Sleepercar and Aushua.
The Republic Tigers
I was not to familiar with The Republic Tigers, but quickly was intrigued by what I was hearing. The quiet psychedelic pop tinge of "The Drums" turned some heads from the bar as a large crowd had already started to form at Spaceland. My immediate impression was an indie experimental pop based Pink Floyd. I heard some similarities with The Shins but with more electronic effects bubbling through the songs. "Buildings and Mountains" had stacked vocal echoes combined with propulsive acoustic guitars that gave way to a delayed drenched guitars as the Republic Tigers moved into pop bliss territory. The Republic Tigers will be out on tour with Nada Surf and have a new record out entitled Keep Color on Chop Shop records which is an imprint of Atlantic records.
I was really impressed with Jim Ward when he stopped by the Paul Gleason theatre for a semi solo show. Jim is now touring in support of Sleepercar which highlights some of Jim's Texas roots. I remember seeing Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top at a Sparta show and that they both hail from Texas. Sleepercar released their debut album West Texas which sizzles with pedal steel guitars and a distinct alternative country flavor as Jim mines the past influences of Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Chris Heinrich (Pedal Steel/Guitars) almost stole the show at the Paul Gleason show and continued to astound me with some smoking pedal steel playing on "Fences Down". "Wasting My Time" is a perfect mesh of alternative rock and country as it fluctuates flawlessly between both genres. The lullaby ringing chords of "Wednesday Night" builds like a snowball rolling down the hill until bowling you over with its huge chorus. I walked directly to the merchandise booth after the set to purchase my copy of the new album.
I will admit I was excited when I saw two huge pedal boards placed on the ground as Gran Ronde was setting up their gear. Neil Parek (Guitars) had a Line 6 Pod connected to a Midi foot controller. Chris Pearson (Vocals/Guitars) had an assortment of pedals that included a Boss Tremolo, Line 6 Delay and a MXR carbon copy analog delay. Gran Ronde lived up to my pedal expectations with soaring guitars and well crafted songs that recalled the sonics of some of my favorite British bands. "Set It Off" from their album Secret Rooms lived up to its title as the dueling guitars continually climbed into the stratosphere while the bass and the drums anchored the ground. The tempo momentarily slowed for "Gold" as Gran Ronde demonstrated their knowledge of moody atmospheric ballads. "Run Me Over" was a dynamic closer to their set as the guitars went into winding staircase mode. Gran Ronde will close out their Spaceland residency this Tuesday May 27th.
It has been a few months since I caught up with Aushua. Aushua is gearing up for a west coast tour opening for Thrice and have recently released their EP No Harm Done on itunes. Nathan Gammill (Vocals/Guitars) was on the far left of the stage as he belted out the title track of their EP as Eric Newyear (Guitars) cranked up the reverb on Fender guitar. The marching band drum beat from Lee Newyear (Drums) for "Reverberation" never sounded better as Phil Newyear (Bass) added a complimentary bass line. I have been a big supporter of Aushua since I saw them in September of 2007 and they continually hone their live show as "Sister Saves" absolutely rocked. I have the EP and anxiously await their full length debut LP.