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August & September 2011 concert summaries

It's perhaps premature to be doing a concert summary that includes September. However, I've got just one brief note to make about a show in August that I haven't yet covered, and I've been to (technically) three shows so far this month and have little to say about them either, so I just want to do one summary post.

On Friday August 26, after the final Concert at the Mural, I went to Neumos to catch the final show by Sleepy Eyes of Death. Because I'd had my laptop with me at the Mural concert, I headed home first to drop that off. As a result, I missed the opening band Crypts entirely, and as I still needed to grab some pizza for dinner, I also caught just the last couple songs by Flexions. What I heard was kind of a '60s surf-space-lounge rock that I liked, so I'll have to be on the lookout for another chance to see FlexionsSleepy Eyes of Death took a while to get set up, and then immediately after their first song they had technical difficulties that paused the show for another 15 or 20 minutes, which was unfortunate. Still, their epic space rock was worth the wait. They're the sort of band that recognizes even though lasers are now commonplace, we all still think they're cool. Listening to their music, I wondered, what if the Star Wars prequels had used this music? Or rather, what if you made a movie crossing the visual style of Tron: Legacy with the kind of epic space opera story that the Star Wars prequels were (ostensibly) reaching for (and didn't quite grasp)? Basically, someone should get Luc Besson to do that, and use the music of Sleepy Eyes of Death as the score. I've barely come to know of the band, but I know they'll be missed.

Last Friday September 9, I went over to Nectar to see Kinksi, opening for Sleepy Sun and White Hills. It's been over a year since I last saw Kinski, and they were good as always, though there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the performance. I didn't recognize some of the songs but I think they were older tunes I'm less familiar with rather than new ones. White Hills played hard rock, a bit psychedelic and a bit more metal in style; I thought they were fairly conventional, fairly good for what they do, but not really interesting to me. Sleepy Sun played roots/blues rock, like Black Angels or BRMC (or Seattle band the Purrs for that matter). They were also fairly good, more to my taste than White Hills, but again not as interesting as Kinski usually is to me. It was a decent evening of rock overall.

Last night, Tuesday September 13, I went back to Nectar to see Zuzuka Poderosa, an act I only knew as being highly recommended by DJ Chilly from KEXP. Opening were DJs Darwin, of Seattle band Mad Rad, and Chaach, who also DJed for Poderosa. This lineup, unfortunately, turned out to be not at all to my taste. Generally speaking, they all used hiphop-influenced bass beats with Latin music—Zuzuka Poderosa herself being a rapper championing a Brazilian style called baile funk or funk carioca—and while there's nothing wrong with that combination as such, I just found most of it to be too hard and heavy and loud for me. The DJs mixed in some other styles as well—Darwin for example dropped "Posse on Broadway" into the mix, while Chaach played some tracks by recently-deceased French DJ Mehdi as a tribute—but it just wasn't working for me. To be fair, I was also in a sour mood having nothing to do with the show. Still, I gave Poderosa about 15 minutes and then left, something so rare that I believe I can still count the instances using my fingers just once apiece. Although that sounds really damning, I want to emphasize again that it simply wasn't to my taste, and judging by the highly excited good-sized crowd of people dancing, Poderosa was doing a fine job for what she does.

On my way home, however, as I walked past the White Rabbit, I heard something much more interesting to my taste. The door person said the band, Uroboros, had just started their set, so I went in to check them out. The band featured a singer/guitarist (though her guitar sounded very low, I thought it might've been a six-string bass), a drummer, and another woman on backing vocals. They played bare-bones dark post-punk, with strong gothy vocals (versus ethereal floaty ones) and clean guitar lines with little distortion or other effects. Despite the tiny audience, they gamely played through a good set of songs and an encore of two which the singer said had never been played before by the drummer; the last one was supposed to be just the singer on acoustic guitar, but the drummer still improvised a bongo part on his tom that suited it well. I liked their set ever so much more than the Zuzuka Poderosa show, and it cheered me up immensely, so the evening was salvaged. Apparently Uroboros has been playing most shows with a fuller band lineup than just guitar and drums, so I'll have to look out for another opportunity to see them.


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