The 2012 SpokesBUZZ 3rd Annual CD Release Party featured 9 different bands: Better Than Bacon, The Echo Chamber, Turn 4, Constitution, The Lindsey O’Brien Band, Post Paradise, Common Anomaly, Trichome, and Musketeer Gripweed. With so many bands, my review of this show is a 3-part endeavour, so for Better Than Bacon, The Eco Chamber and Turn 4, see Part 1, and for Constitution, The Lindsey O’Brien Band and Post Paradise, see Part 2. This is, of course, Part 3: Common Anomaly, Trichome and Musketeer Gripweed.
Now, I am not much of a club-goer, so bear that in mind, because of course the last three bands of the night at this event were all high energy, loud, party-oriented music (moreso than the rest, though none of them were exactly low energy or non-party music). I still enjoyed these last 3 sets, but they were loud enough and the floor was crowded enough that I spent less time right up front for these sets. Losing my hearing and getting kicked accidentally by dancing members of the audience were becoming increasingly likely, and neither sounded like much fun.
The Artists (Part 3)
A ‘post’-rock band from Fort Collins, these guys do rock with a cyborg tinge. Their music is heavier, with a lot of reliance on electronic sounds, but with more lyrics by far than The Echo Chamber. This is a far cry from the folk songs with which I heavily pepper my playlists. However, I grew up on hard rock, and the longer I remained steeped in the atmosphere of the SpokesBUZZ party, the more I reverted to my long-buried highschool self, the one that was particularly fond of Quiet Riot and lasted long enough into college that I still have Front 242, Rammstein, Frontline Assembly, Stabbing Westward, and a few other random rock discs among my cd collection. In my 30’s skin I can appreciate the cool guitar effects these guys use, and since I grew up as a consumer of rock concert photography, I had a lot of fun taking photos of this band, despite my camera still hating the stage lights. My early 20’s self would have been decidedly into this band.
Common Anomaly has been around for about 3 years, according to their reverbnation page. They have an album out, Iridium, which is available on spotify as well. Some of their songs on this album remind me a lot of Pink Floyd, actually, and I’d bet this band is one that can do some more than tolerably decent Floyd covers should they choose to do so. They also have a couple singles available, which should tide over anyone getting into this band, at least until their next show. And when is their next show, you ask? Good question, but for now you’ll just have to stop by and ‘like’ their facebook page so you can get updates when they announce their next shows in 2013. Their last 2012 show was this past weekend, so they are at the moment in at least a brief winter hibernation.
Evan, the lead singer for Trichome, was ill the night of this show, so he was all bundled up and has his microphone turned up to compensate. He gave a good show anyway, and I doubt anyone in the audience would have guessed he was not in perfect health. Trichome (the word ‘trichome’, by the way, is a biology term for the tiny hairs on plants and some protists) plays music that is a bit similar to Common Anomaly in their brief 3-song live show, but Trichome has a lot more of a disco/blues/jazz/funk influence, and uses a wider variety of instruments. In fact, in terms of electronic ‘cyborg’ music, this band makes Common Anomaly sound more like just a good old-fashioned 4-piece rock band. This band was even more of a favorite for the dancers in the crowd, a detail one notices when weaving back & fort through the crowd with a camera trying not to get kicked.
Trichome’s self-titled EP is available on bandcamp to listen to and to buy. Even more than in their 3-song live set, this EP shows off this band’s funkier side. Some of the songs on this EP remind me of the music that the Louisiana band Fights played at the Bandswap show earlier this year. Actually, if Trichome and Fights so wished, these two bands would do well touring together, I’d bet. We did get one song with Mike Windham on saxophone at the CD Release party, but if we’d had time in the night, it would have been fun to see the brass-players from the Lindsey O’Brien Band hop on stage to jam with Trichome a bit, just so we could have more of the funky side of this band. Their synthesizer bits in one remind me a bit of the stuff that was popular in the 60’s and 70’s. Once again, this is yet another band that straddles several genres. They play fun, danceable music with a beat, and ought to have a light show or at least a disco ball to augment their effects, but their range extends a bit beyond funk and 70’s discopop. It may be a while before these guys play Fort Collins again, but on their facebook page they have shows listed in Breckenridge and Denver over the next month, and they’ll be at the Aggie here in Fort Collins in February.
As I mentioned in my highlights post 2 weeks ago, Jason Downing, the lead singer of Musketeer Gripweed, reminds me of the aesthetic of Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem. I stand by my initial impression, though of course both are drawing from a common source to develop their stage personae. Mr. Downing also looked a bit familiar at the SpokesBUZZ party, and on doing the usual pre-blogging research I now know why- he’s a CSU sociology professor, which means his department is one floor down from mine in the same building. It really makes you wonder what secret lives the rest of the professors on campus maintain when their students are not looking too closely. I do wonder if he has ever lectured in the fur coat, or at least the hat. Some of the classrooms at CSU are pretty cold during the winter, and especially on Fridays wearing something unusual seems to help when students get too squirrelly to pay attention otherwise.
Musketeer Gripweed is John Lennon meets Jamaican reggae, plus the American rock & roll traditions that inspired Dr. Teeth. Their live show has the Lennon, Rolling Stones and reggae tones, plus a bit of Southern Gospel, blues, ‘rockabilly’, bluegrass, and all the other elements that can crop up in what radio stations have labeled Americana, all mixed together with plenty of theatricality and audience involvement. There are of course other influences besides stuff dating back to the 70’s (& earlier)- a band in 2012 can’t help but be influenced by modern equipment and standards, if not by the decades of music since Lennon walked the Earth. If it seemed loud and crowded up next to the stage for the previous 2 sets, it was twice as loud and three times as crowded for Musketeer Gripweed.
The party did not last so late that people were leaving because of the late hour, so the folks who were already at Hodi’s were still there, plus a whole new bunch that came for Musketeer Gripweed. This band, as the last for the night, played a much longer set, of which I stuck around and took pictures for a few of the songs before heading back to poke at all the cool band shirts on the merch table. Their audience was probably good for another set by the time they finished, actually, and the fellows of Musketeer Gripweed seemed like they were just warming up for the first half of their set, so I’d imagine their longer shows get quite a bit more interesting by the second half.
This shorter set was still great fun. I only wish my camera liked the lighting better. For those wanting to hear this band, their reverbnation page and myspace page both have plenty to listen to, and their 2012 album, Straight Razor Revival, is available on amazon.
By the end of the night, the carrots were all stale and unappetizing on the otherwise empty appetizer trays, the stocks of cool tshirts and CDs at the merch table had depleted somewhat, and all the promotional activities had wrapped up successfully. By the end of the night the SpokesBUZZ SXSW account was much happier, and since then the bands that are slated to represent Fort Collins in Austin are hopefully starting to daydream about what they want to wear on stage and which songs they want on their setlists. On to 2013 and many more grand adventures in FoCo (Fort Collins) local music!