All Photos: Greg Szeto
A sweaty grower of a Thursday night show, from the blissful haze of expertly layered guitar loops to the serenity of nature, followed by big-riff country-fried rock and capped off with high-energy, soul-filled dance songs.
Jared Paolini’s measured performance matched his meticulous and painstaking live layering of guitars to produce vast and glorious escapist textures. Small Sur’s set was pitch perfect, some new cuts being played, while Andy Abelow often stole the show with his ever-improving, excellent sax work (nary a squawk or hesitant entrance in earshot, and rich, full tones abound). This is no small feat considering Bob Keal’s soaring vocal work and subtle, lyrical guitar, and Austin Stahl’s deliberate and expressive drumming. Future Islands provided the soulful dance party we have all come to expect, Sam Herring’s emphatic, raw vocals and uniquely theatrical delivery proving ever effective. Will Cashion’s bass work also proved spot on, providing a much needed, kinetic bass line you could feel, compensating for the somewhat hollow drum machine beats in the background.
But for me, the big find of the night was how much I absolutely fell in love with Lonnie Walker’s foot-stomping, knee-slapping, crunchy and rousing Americana rock. Building each song from rambling country riffs and vocals to huge guitar shredding payoffs, frantic vocals, and ramped-up, urgent tempi. So versatile was their approach that they even dropped one of their songs into something like a syncopated ska beat. Expect to hear more from them in these pages in the very near future.