Show Review: Sleeping People (CD Release), Kill Me Tomorrow, Aspects of Physics

Curse my lousy memory: because of it, you get no pictures from what was–all in all–a very interesting, eclectic night at the Casbah. When Sleeping People, a co-ed, mixed-race group that rocks in systems of equations and shit, is the most conventional band on the bill, you know you’re in for a pretty interesting evening.

Aspects of Physics took the stage later than expected due to a confluence of factors:

1. For three dudes, they have a shit ton of gear. It’s awesome, and effective, and creates an incredible amount of layered sound, but it does have to moved, positioned, and set up.
2. The drummer from Vagabond Opera (who headlined the Casbah’s early show, and apparently had belly dancers on hand) apparently didn’t get the memo that, when another band is coming on stage right after you, it’s considered good form to REMOVE YOUR GEAR FROM THE STAGE AREA BEFORE DISASSEMBLING IT. Can you tell I’ve been in this situation before?

Once on stage, the trio of Jason Soares, Jeff Coad, and Brent Asbury were masterful. Asbury was especially impressive. Playing to a pre-recorded rhythm track, which is one of the toughest things for a drummer to do period, his power and presence behind the kit were phenomenal. Why isn’t this guy’s name thrown around in the discussion of best drummers in San Diego? That said, they sounded great but probably played too long by one song, as the Casbah had to hit them with the house lights in the middle of their last tune.

Kill Me Tomorrow took the stage next. I met them for the first time years–and I mean years–ago when our two bands were mysteriously booked at the Spanish Moon Cantina in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on the same night while on tour. I’ve been a pretty dedicated observer of the output of Kill Me Tomorrow, mostly for the fact that they produce clothes and books with about the same frequency as records, which is interesting in its own right. This was my first time seeing them with Tobyn McCormick in the band, and his additions of percussion and horn added to Kill Me Tomorrow’s standard fare of noisy, percussive and off-kilter dance punk. It’s funny, because most people, myself included, tend to call them an electro-punk band, even though their actual ratio of electronic to organic instrumentation is quite low. Weird. Anyway, they were good.

Sleeping People got the stage late–it was about 12:50 AM when they finally started playing their first notes, and by then the crowd had unfortunately thinned out a bit. Starting shows late may be good for the opening bands but it’s another classic example of robbing Peter to pay Paul, which is unfortunate when it’s Paul’s CD release show. That notwithstanding, Sleeping People attacked their first song, “Yellow Guy, Pink Eye” with unmitigated ferocity. As impressive as the guitars of Casey Flowe and Joileah Maddock are, the real fireworks come from the bass and drums tandem of Kenseth Thibideaux and Brandon Relf. Brandini, as he’s known to some, is San Diego’s resident Damon Che, a flurry of muscle memory-defying fills and a sense for finding “the one,” in drummer terms, that positively creepy.

After their set, which was cut short due to time restrictions, my buddy Kirk picked up their new record on double-gatefold vinyl. If you have a record player and like being dizzy, I recommend you do the same.

Sleeping People CD release Saturday night @ Casbah

Now this is the kind of lineup I can get behind: Sleeping People, Kill Me Tomorrow, and Aspects of Physics this Saturday at the Casbah. Math rock that’s more rock than math, an electro funked-out soundtracks to monster movies, and the band I wish Rob Crowe spent most of his time with. I couldn’t really ask for more.

I wouldn’t expect many skinny ties. I’d expect a lot of notes. A lot of notes.

Show Review: Fifty on their Heels, the Vultures @ the Beauty Bar

cat dirt throws a pretty mean party, even if a no-show door person meant that he had to do so while collecting cover and manning the prodigious guest list. The only part of his hospitality of which I didn’t partake was the cupcakes, though they looked delicious. Pics from the event will be forthcoming–damn that enigmatic USB cable.

I had a chance to speak with Dan Wise, bassist of the Vultures and guitarist of Kill Me Tomorrow, before the show. I had not seen him in a dog’s age and was glad to be able to catch up. He’s taking upright bass lessons and seems to be enjoying the hell out of it. He made an interesting remark to the effect that he wanted to expand the repertoire of what he could do musically so as to be able to do it throughout his life. “I don’t want to be an aging rocker,” I believe, was the direct quote. I can second that. Dan’s work with Kill Me Tomorrow is excellent, reflecting a sincere desire to break up the narrow approach of dance punk by encorporating all sorts of musical odds and ends, and he’s still actively trying to grow and get better.

Also, I’ll give credit where credit is due. At least on this night, the bar staff was unfailingly polite and helpful. I made mention of a lousy experience there in another one of my posts, so I figure it’s only fair to recognize good work.

This was my first experience with the Vultures, or Chuck Rowell and the Vultures (which are they going by these days?). While I was never a big fan of the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower (though I did give Love in the Fascist Brothel a positive review), I’m less enamoured of the member’s current projects, both of which strike me as genre exercises. The Plot’s approach was famously all over the map; both the Prayers and the Vultures seem to be channeling very specific influences, though one does sunny Beach Boys-esque pop and the other Iggy and the Stooges/New York Dolls glam punk. Chuck’s stage presence is still an exercise in visible (if good natured) disdain for the audience, but his current vocal approach is straight-up Johnny Rotten. Perhaps I caught them on an off night.

Fifty on their Heels spent the entire Vultures set up front and listening intently. However you choose to look at it, the courtesy/honor/gesture wasn’t returned. The Vultures spent most of Fifty’s set stationed at the bar, which was too bad. They missed a pretty energetic offering from Junior, Justin and Nicky. It would have been nice, too, if the crowd had caught some of their energy; I was reminded of the Dismemberment Plan’s hilarious “Doing the Stand Still.” C’mon, it’s Saturday night, it’s a dance punk band and you have the disposable income to already be drinking the night away–can’t you loosen up and shake a leg?  My impression, and I may be incorrect, is that the Beauty Bar’s attracts a dance crowd that is more or less indifferent to a lot of the live music that goes on there. Individual shows, such as Battles or the upcoming appearance by the Bronx, may buck this trend, but it’s probably safe to say that the DJs do more business for the bar than the bands.