The recent local band showcase brought together by two indie record labels at SOhO was the nicest surprise date I ever took myself on. Sitting in the darkest, farthest corner in the club, scribbling notes on my hand and sipping chardonnay, I allowed myself to throw a pity party for one; that was up until the cutest modern-day lumberjack took the stage with his guitar and began to quietly strum some chords. After a brief pause to answer his ringing cell phone, Tall Tales (a.k.a. Trevor Beld) sang us woodsy folk songs of long nights, road trips, and traveling towards the one he loves; all tracks off of his new album, Short Songs from Tall Tales. I wanted to roast marshmallows, cozy up in some flannel, and listen to him under stars.
The next band from Beehouse Records was The Spires. I’m of the opinion that everything is better with a female drummer and a bonus harmonica, and The Spires proved me right. The band woke the audience up with loud, fun pop-rock from their new EP, Sky Sky, creating an impressively full sound from only two people. Their set shimmered and harmonized its way through nasal, socially conscious lyrics, rainy day love songs, and even challenged destiny, claiming, “Fate I’ll take you on, all night long.”
From the Corporate Nightmare label, Kinothek – a band from Buellton at work on their debut Fall release, The Long, All Along – opened their set without pretense. The foursome performed with raw, heart-heavy vocals, creating a rock sound that managed to fulfill their “Killers meet The Cure wearing My Morning Jacket” description. All I know is that the sound was so good it turned four average-looking men into sex gods. Honestly, that album cannot come out soon enough.
Spotlight artist and the night’s emcee was Zach Madden – Santa Barbara’s indie pop-rock star and the man behind Kinothek’s record – who recently released, Don’t Come Back Too Small. He took the stage and announced, “I’m going to play some tunes with some buddies;” and Madden’s got four very talented buddies. They jammed their way through lyrically-focused songs that sounded like Dashboard Confessional took a whining suppressant and decided to grow up. The sound was groovy, upbeat, and radio-ready. Even if the vocals sometimes seemed a bit beyond Madden’s range, he made up for it with his great stage personality, and crowd-engaging Michael Jackson jokes (who doesn’t like those?), while profusely thanking everyone for coming out, because, “Wednesday is like a free Friday.”