champchamp1.jpg
Champagne Champagne
Champagne Champagne, Deadkill

Thursday, April 12

Neumos

Before last night's show, Deadkill vocalist Bryan "Boney" Krieger told me the two-band bill was "Mixed-genre,

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Champagne Champagne, Deadkill Make The Mixed-Genre Bill Look Easy. Plus, Some Other Random Shit I Did Last Night

champchamp1.jpg
Champagne Champagne
Champagne Champagne, Deadkill

Thursday, April 12

Neumos

Before last night's show, Deadkill vocalist Bryan "Boney" Krieger told me the two-band bill was "Mixed-genre, but shared energy." The five-piece punk band's energy, coupled with the fact that experimental rap headliners Champagne Champagne often spike their sound with rock distortion, made the pairing seem far more natural than it might look on paper.

What I saw of Deadkill's set was extremely entertaining. Blasting some straight-ahead Black Flag-style punk, and getting people going with a Champagne Champagne-honoring "Deadkill, Deadkill" refrain, the band delivered as promised. The ever-shirtless Krieger shouted his lyrics at the audience, but the vibe was all positive, and the crowd gave it right back to him.

After DJ Radjaw (Mad Rad, Fresh Espresso) worked through a nice selection of party rap (I heard some Slow Dance in the mix) and sped-up grime-rap anthems, the Champagne gang bounced on stage and hit a couple of standards like "Soda & Pop Rocks" and "The Sultan"/"HollyWood Shampoo" from their 2009 self-titled debut (and only) full-length as well as a couple newer jams from the more recent Private Party EP they dropped on French label, Platinum Records. Throughout their set, they made good use of live instrumentation, as Mark "DJ Gajamagic" Gajadhar ripped up a drum kit as well as an electric guitar during a few of their more rocking numbers. The key here is that the live instrumentation wasn't forced upon the studio tracks as some supplementary, frivolous element brought in to differentiate their studio recordings from their live versions. When Gajadhar wasn't manning the knobs and effect pedals (which he uses quite well as an instrument), he was playing a vital part of the track on the guitar or drums (the "Wishin' I was fishin' with the kids from New Edition" with Mark on the drums is a new highlight by the way), providing substantive input that ratcheted things up nicely.

Champagne^2 pulled off their black-power-meets-John-Hughes-movie shtick as well as ever. A fitting moment came when some random guy in the crowd grabbed a microphone from the stage after the last song in their set proper and babbled about who-knows-what until security took it from him. The band then ambled awkwardly back to the stage for their encore without much provocation since the crowd was still fixated on the strange mike-grabbing guy.

It was a great homecoming show (they've just returned from touring Europe), and it was evident that their live show had been sharpened by the practice. Pearl Dragon, especially, was more focused an in-tune than I'd seen him in a good while. All in all, there were some delightfully strange moments over the course of the night, but the show was a win, and the "rap" audience looked pretty punk last night.

Random other shit I did while waiting for the show to start:

-Sampled another one of Tavern Law's fantastically constructed cocktails. The "Mayan Riviera" went down smooth, which was a good thing, because I once toyed with the idea of writing a review of their music selection called "The Best Bar With The Worst Music Selection In Town." It's entirely possible they read my smarmy thoughts, because the tunes were vastly improved during this visit (nice work guys!).

-Walked over to The Living Room and caught KEXP's DJ Alex spinning an ambient electronic DJ set. It was laid-back and highly enjoyable. I have to say that the bar, which is set up almost exactly like Ballard's Hazlewood, is one of the most bizarre places to "see" a DJ spin in the area, as the DJ booth is set up in what looks like the upstairs coat closet. A rectangular hole cut in the wall, through which you can see the DJ only from the shoulders up, serves as the performer's lone venue for showmanship. It deserves to be mentioned though, that DJ Alex made good use of his shoulders-up time, and smiled brilliantly for as long as I watched.

 
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