canoncanyoncomet123.jpg
Canon Canyon, Mike Giacolino, Quinton Kakeley

The Comet

Wednesday, Jan. 5

The popularization of alt-country acts over the last decade--particularly the populist appeal of Ryan

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Canon Canyon: Refreshingly Sincere, Tastefully Country, Last Night at the Comet

canoncanyoncomet123.jpg
Canon Canyon, Mike Giacolino, Quinton Kakeley

The Comet

Wednesday, Jan. 5

The popularization of alt-country acts over the last decade--particularly the populist appeal of Ryan Adams--has resulted in the co-option of country by bands in every genre, but particularly in those leaning toward the innocuous end of the indie-rock spectrum. Rather than sound the part, bands try to look it, brandishing Telecasters, snap-button shirts, and cowboy boots. But thrift-store dress-up does not a country act make.

What made Canon Canyon's set at the Comet last night one of the most refreshing in recent memory is that the band, while obviously heavily indebted to country and Southern rock, didn't come off as interlopers. They're content being a straightforward, guitar-driven rock band with a thing for Lynyrd Skynyrd. In Seattle, that makes them something of a pleasant anomaly.

Rather than force their instincts inside the skinniest of jeans and behind an ironic belt buckle and a layer of preciousness, the four gentlemen who make up Tacoma's Canon Canyon fix their sights directly on the arena. It's a belligerent trajectory, to be sure, but the hubris of it--the fact that they effortlessly perform in front of 50 people as if they're playing in front of 15,000--is an ambitious tack that is devoid of delusion. It also enunciates their weakness.

In swinging for the fences--an endearing trait that some of their colleagues would do well to emulate--they keep everything turned up all the way all the time, leaving no room for the songs to breathe or sink in. The comparatively hushed encore, featuring a solo performance from frontman Michael Cooper, demonstrated some breadth and nuance. Spreading that out through the entire set--think Band of Horses' "Monsters" and "Part One" on Everything All the Time - will bring the band to the next level.

Opener: Mike Giacolino is a solid singer and songwriter who was backed by a supportive yet timid band last night. Once the three get comfortable with each other and the music, they'll be in a better position to do Giacolino's twangs justice.

Overheard in the Crowd: "One more!" after Canon Canyon's first song. That one never gets old.

The Crowd: Lots of friends and family familiar with the music.

BTW: While the first opening act, Quinton Kakeley, was treating the night like an open mike, stopping between each song to explain the meaning of the forthcoming number, I ducked out and scanned the bargain bins at Everyday Music. I found a $6 copy of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I wouldn't have bought it, but it had an un-cut mustache and costume insert. I've never seen such a thing so cheap, so I brought it home.

 
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