What's a Minion to do on election day? Sitting around watching results come in can be depressing, especially if you live deep in The Bible Belt, so it's time to cast your futile ballot and then head out to The EARL for a few pints and some good music.
We walked in shortly after 9:30 to find the first act already playing. Oh good, i thought, maybe this show will be done early. Silly me -- Los Angeles-based hippie band The Tyde started their set early so that they could play for a long time. As in, they did not leave the stage for an hour! I honestly thought that the sound guy was going to run down from the sound booth and throttle them for playing so long... Bad form, kids. Openers don't need sets that long, no matter how early you start.
The Tyde, much like the Energizer Bunny....
And the thing is, The Tyde weren't bad for a vaguely jammy, hippie pop band. They blended a little bit of The Velvet Underground with a little bit of The
Church, and came off reminding me a lot of mid-90s Athenians The Grapes. Not bad in small doses. Except in this case, they kept playing. And playing. And between each song, and there were many -- The Tyde are not some Widespread-esque "20 minutes per song" type of act -- they did not banter. At all. So they would play these happy little songs, then stand around in dead silence while they waited for the guitarist to tune. That was awkward.
Still, i have seen worse acts.
Irving in action.
The second band, who didn't go on until an EARL normal 10:55, were also from Los Angeles. They are called Irving, and i had heard that they were a fun little alternative pop act. They set up as a five-piece, adding a keyboardist to the standard rock band lineup, and every member had a mic, including the drummer. They also had a lot of pedals, something of which i fully approve.
Irving also had nice guitars!
The music had a really great beat, and a lot of catchy moments. They played the types of songs that i would love to sing along with in the car. Some of it sounded almost synthpopish, and other tunes sounded more like early 90s Britpop. I have to admit to being suitable impressed. especially since all 5 mics were used, and used well. These lads can harmonize, which isn't something you see everyday.
Irving are a young band, and even though they are only on their second record, they have a polished, accomplished sound. I will definitely look for more from them in the future.
Finally, just before midnight on a work night (thanks, The Tyde), New Yorkers +/- (that's pronounced "Plus Minus") took the stage. I have reviewed a
live show by these people before. That time, the opener was a slowcore act, and a loud drunk guy almost got into a fight. How weird is that? This time, there was "creepy makeout couple". No -- they seriously needed to get a room. At one point, there was some ruckus in the back corner, some flash of color that drew my eye, and Makeout Girl was pulling her skirt back down while getting up from off top of Makeout Guy. WTF? At The EARL? People, i doubt that those benches are very clean... Ewww. Anyway, the point is that strange things happen when i see +/- at The EARL. I wonder why that is?
Patrick Ramos of +/-.
+/- is the current band of James Baluyut and Patrick Ramos, who used to be in indie-rock stalwarts Versus. I loved Versus, and i find that Baluyut and Ramos do a fine job with their new band.
James Baluyut films himself singing.
(Side Note: Notice the "ghost" in the lower left. What is that? It turned
up on no other
shot in the series where i photographed James filming himself.
The EARL is haunter? Maybe we can get League
of Evil to bring The
Hunters in to investigate!)
+/- walked on stage to some old jazz looped on the laptop, and then the drummer played clarinet while Baluyut sang through distortion. Simply beautiful. And then ... they rocked out. Not hard, and not like a metal band, but +/- play songs that are sparse and minimal, yet noisy and beautiful too. It's hard to understand how something can be sparse yet noisy, and yet +/- manage to pull that combination off. Their music has a strong sense of physical space, i think.
The drummer/clarinetist of +/-.
I am pretty familiar with the band, and they played lots of tunes i had heard before. Some stuff off of the first record was played very differently here. And they played lots off of their latest release. They left the stage at 12:45, which wasn't a very long set. I wanted to hear them play more, even though it was so late and i had to be at work early the next day. That's a pretty big compliment indeed.