Tired of arena rock and the familiar ordeal of being pushed so far back from the stage you end up frustrated, watching a screen that ironically feels a lot like the one at home? On Friday night, Feb. 9, Isla Vista served up something for musical taste buds to salivate over, something a bit more gritty and all over your face. Here one can be, literally, on the same level as gut-wrenching breakdowns, free to rock out shoulder to shoulder with some of IV’s most talented musicians. It’s a more personable experience. Every person is as broke as the next; it’s a team effort to have a good time and let off some midterm stress.
Musical veterans Springtime Is Wartime are getting their first taste of the IV tenacity, having played many times before around Santa Barbara at venues such as Muddy Waters. These math rockers have been keeping it DIY for years, with influences like June of 44, Slint, and James Brown. Brothers Tim and Josh Eymann met Dave Haq in 2004, and since then have worked hard, putting out a refined album called The Halo Is Lit Tonight. Intricate riffs and passages are carefully calculated between funky beats and breakdowns in epic-style songs that seem flawlessly executed live. Their energized sound is best described in their words as having “the balls of a gorilla and the heart of a dove.” No doubt their humor and down-to earth style is a recipe for a good time among the eager crowds of Isla Vista.
The show is in the back yard of the Dashain Co-op, packed full with almost fifty people, more inside. Homemade art and decorations cover every wall or exposed surface and adorn every rafter, there’s even a giant marionette that proved useful for some humorous photos. The bulk of the songs they play are from their album, but we get to hear some new stuff, even some Talking Heads to get the blood flowing. They play for almost an hour, and the crowd dances through every minute. After the show, ears ringing, I get a chance to talk with the guys a bit before they head home. When I ask their plans for the future, I’m not surprised to learn they’re not stressing over finding a label or rushing to take off on tour. Too many people matter here, and they’ve got the love and appreciation that makes it worth it already.