spindrift.jpg

Spindrift

Who: Spindrift, Black Nite Crash, Midday Veil

Where: Comet Tavern

When: Sunday, November 16

Capitol Hill on Sunday night is a sad show. The

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Last Night: Spindrift at Comet Tavern

spindrift.jpg

Spindrift

Who: Spindrift, Black Nite Crash, Midday Veil

Where: Comet Tavern

When: Sunday, November 16

Capitol Hill on Sunday night is a sad show. The hot dog stand isn't around, the streets are empty, sad-eyed bums are out in force, the gutters are filled with trash and dried vomit, empty bars close before 2...it's a strange experience. But you wouldn't know it from looking at the Comet. The place was probably three-quarters full by the end of the night.

Unfortunately, it felt a little too much like a weekend, mainly because shit got started so late that by the time Spindrift actually came on, I was lagging in a serious way. The first band started at 10, which threw everything off, which meant that Spindrift didn't go on until 12:30 or so. Spindrift is based in LA, where they've spent the last seven years making a couple of albums (Songs From The Ancient Age was the first) and writing the score to an independent spaghetti Western, The Legend of God's Gun. PLUS, Quentin Tarantino recently used a song of theirs, "Indian Run," in his new flick, Hell Ride. The band recently signed to the Dandy Warhols' label, Beat the World, and recently released their first LP on that label, The West, which is a solid piece of cowboy psychedelia (they also put out a vinyl EP earlier this year). If Man Man suddenly developed a yen for country music, it would sound something like this. It's basically what might result if Nick Cave started watching a lot of Westerns and listening to a lot of klezmer music. And we could call it "country and weirdo."

With all this in mind-- and after spinning The West regularly ever since it showed up in my mailbox-- I had high expectations for Spindrift's live show. And as I expected, the band delivered, even though singer Kirpatrick Thomas stopped a few songs in to call for sound adjustments, frustrated that the vocals weren't turned up high enough. Spindrift songs are fluid compositions, the kind that tell a story using few words (and sometimes none at all). And as you'd expect, the real showstoppers in this band are the guitars. Last night, there were four of them; one of the three guitarists (Henry Evans, I believe) played a double neck (it wasn't a twelve-string double neck, though. One neck had six strings, the other four). Normally, there are eight people in the band, five of whom play guitar. But only five people total were onstage last night; the guitarists (one of whom is also vocalist Kirpatrick Thomas), keyboardist Julie Patterson and drummer Dan Allaire. Actually, I thought I saw the rest of the band at the show, too, but I can't be sure. I've seen bands cram eight or nine people up there at the Comet, but I wouldn't recommend it, and if the other three bandmates did opt out, it was probably a wise decision. The band works just fine as a quintet. Next time, though, I hope I get to see the whole production, which would be worth attending in an altered state. If that's something you do, of course.

On the openers:

Midday Veil-- A two-person band that specializes in ambient, eerie soundscapes that work well as mood music. We walked in right as these guys started, around 10. If you ate some mushrooms and wanted to take a spiritual journey, this is the kind of thing you might put on the stereo. You wouldn't remember much of the music later, but it would induce one hell of a trip. There is a singer, Emily Pothast, who plays guitar and other various instruments (I thought I saw an autoharp in the mix) and lets these eerie, operatic refrains fly without a whole lot of vocal control, which may or may not be deliberate. Often, she'd utter these bizarre sounds and uses looping pedals to repeat them while she was messing around with something else. Meanwhile, David Golightly backs her on keyboards. It was conceptually interesting, if not always an attention-grabber. This is mood music, not something you'd actually pay a whole lot of conscious attention to. I think that was a deliberate choice, but I can't be sure.

Black Nite Crash-- A five-person stoner rock band that employs distortion and other sorts of shoegaze-y effects. They've gotten some attention from other local media outlets in the past, including a KEXP Song of the Day and a couple of blurbs in various papers. But for me, it was hit or miss. I liked a few of their songs very much, and others not at all, which usually signals that a band is developing for the better. I also think sound issues might've played a role here, because when you hear their songs recorded, they're pretty solid. And they've got an album out, Array, that might be worth a gander. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on.

 
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