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.