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Tyler Blue
Zach Tillman, right, and Pearly Gate Music take a smoke break after their gig, Tuesday night, at Olympia's Northern, opening to Xiu Xiu.

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Last Night: Pearly Gate Music: This Is a Big Fucking Deal

pearlysmokebreak.jpg
Tyler Blue
Zach Tillman, right, and Pearly Gate Music take a smoke break after their gig, Tuesday night, at Olympia's Northern, opening to Xiu Xiu.
Here are a few notes from my trip to Olympia to catch Pearly Gate Music. The Seattle band drops their self-titled, full-length debut with Barsuk on May 18.

Pearly Gate Music

Zach Tillman's obviously his brother's, um, brother. But in this project's full-band incarnation, he's playing to the opposite end of the indie-rock spectrum. Whereas Josh plays delicate, pastoral numbers on an acoustic guitar, Zach beats the hell out of a nylon-string axe out front of a straight-faced quartet. His upper lip sometimes curls when he sings "Daddy wrote you letters from the clink." His "Oooh, Ooohs" are backed up by '60s pop janglin', sparse licks on the lead guitar, and a drummer who can't contain the moment enough to keep his seat.

Universal what? This is a big fucking deal.

Christopher Francis & Son

Christopher Francis & Son want to know about your parents. And they want to keep time with a dust pan. They want you to buy their cassette that they finished just before the show. The Olympia three piece is at once soul-fueled, operatic trio of riff-rockers for the ironic sport coat set, and absurd exhibitionists who drop rhymes and pseudo covers that may or may not be planned. They're spastic. They irreverent to the point that they're dead serious. When lead singer Christopher Francis stares into the nothing the way the rest of us stare into the bathroom mirror, you wonder what's on his mind, until he says it: "Don't go chasing waterfalls! Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that we're used to!"

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Northern: The Olympia All Ages Project

This space is Olympia's answer to the Vera Project, if Vera's stage were tucked in an empty retail space on Broadway. The crowd makes Capitol Hill look like Banana Republic, and the local youth showed up early to dance to Christopher Francis & Son and the Cypress Hill that filled the room between sets. If they can turn these kinds of tricks on a Tuesday night, well, they've got something going for 'em.

Southbay Dickerson's Slow & Low BBQ

One of the benefits to accidentally getting into town two hours early was that I scored a generous plate full of pulled pork and coleslaw at this industrial space along Legion Way. The pork was passable, as was the slaw. But the barbecue sauce on the table was transcendent. It had the flavor and consistency of spicy jam, and I now want to slather it on every one of my meals, Kix included.

 
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