November 10, 2013

In Loving Memory...

In Loving Memory
Lawrence Dean "Papa" Markowitz

Lawrence “Dean” Markowitz passed away peacefully on November 6, 2013, after an extremely brief, but courageous battle with cancer. He was 62. Dean was surrounded by all his children, grandchildren, siblings, close friends, and both parents at his home in Riverside during this time.

Born in Corona, California on September 7, 1951 to Donald and Anne Markowitz, Dean was a fourth-generation Corona descendant. He attended Norco High School and graduated in 1969.

He enlisted in the US Navy in 1974, and was stationed out of San Diego, California until 1978. Dean then moved back to Riverside and worked for The Feed Mill where he was quite active with the worker’s union. Later he became a mail carrier in Riverside, and befriended all on his mail route. It was in 1999 that Dean was hired by the County of Riverside as a Career Rehabilitation Counselor for Veterans that he embarked on a career that was led by his passion for others.

Known to most as “Papa,” Dean shared his love of God, family, and friends with all he encountered. 

His biggest accomplishment and pride was his family. Amongst his greatest joys was time spent with his grandchildren. Once retired in 2010, Dean devoted himself to spending most his time with his cherished grandchildren, children, and parents, often living out of a suitcase for weeks on end.

Dean was the consummate people person. He loved to socialize and always had an easy smile, a twinkle in his eye, an infectious laugh, and a dance in his step. He was a big flirt and made the ladies swoon, much to the embarrassment of his daughters. Whether you were being charmed by Dean or entertained by one of his stories, there was something special about him that easily attracted people.

His sense of fairness and ability to touch the lives of others in
a profound, meaningful way were hallmarks of his character. Dean’s legacy to his family and friends is treasured, and he will be remembered for the qualities that made him so special: kind, generous, playful, earnest, sentimental, humorous, and the best listener any person could ask for.

Dean is survived by his daughters Carrie, Jennifer, and Andrea; sons Aaron and Brandon; father Donald, mother Anne; siblings Brad, Andrew, and Scott; and grandchildren Ayden, Emily, James, Haley, Meredith, and Tristan.  

There will be a celebration of Dean’s life at 1 p.m. Sunday, November 17, at the West Grand Baptist Church, 709 W. Grand Blvd, Corona, California.

October 20, 2013

New Noise Music Conference & Festival @ Santa Barbra ~ October 17-19, 2013

In Our Own Backyard

The New Noise Music Conference & Festival, presented by the New Noise Music Foundation, has taken over Santa Barbara’s clubs by night and offered educational music panels by day, for three awesome days, annually since 2009. In its fifth year, the gang over at NN really has it down tight!

Some locals may have noticed the painted pianos scattered down State Street – yup, that’s New Noise, in collaboration with Notes for Notes, the SB Bowl, Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, Laura Inks, and the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission. These pianos are painted by local artists at an earlier event and presented to SB for all to play – good or bad.  And most importantly, they are part of the festival.

The conference itself took place at the NNMC& F hub, the Savoy. It was a one-day event, with panels on every floor of the three story venue. The panels hosted the who’s who in the music industry, with topics ranging from how to control your brand to how to become an artist.  The key speaker this year was once again Chuck D of Public Enemy, who offered lessons learned as part of the recent “Kings of the Mic” tour.

Being the 5th anniversary, I was really hoping to make this year special…” states New Noise co-founder, Jeff Theimer. “From listening to Chuck D of Public Enemy & our 50+ music biz speakers on Friday, to the Pianos on State project and over 60 bands playing the showcase venues…”

Ah yes, the music! Every year I get my schedule out and do a little research to decide which bands to check out. This year I didn’t have the time, so I let the music pick me. And this time it was all local…   

Ghost Tiger 
Thursday night, because it’s close to my house, I chose to check out the SOhO showcase (not the most scientific way to choose a show, but it works).  The lineup included local bands Ghost Tiger and The Mutineers, and headliner The White Buffalo. I have seen the two local bands, but only in small venues, and boy was it a treat to get more than a taste of them both.

Ghost Tiger is a local 5-piece that specializes in harmonization. Boasting a petite singer with a super-sized voice accompanied by four talented musicians, they create a unique atmospheric folk-pop. Ghost Tiger’s music is both hypnotic and down to earth, blending a taste of Americana rock with a hint electronic pop. They completely took over the SOhO stage, drawing the crowd to fill the dance floor.

The Mutineers followed. Again, seen them, but only in small places, with a less electric sound. I didn’t realize the power of their music until now. The Mutineers are a local pub-rock quartet comprised of rocking female drummer Merry, stand-up bass strumming Terry, crazing guitar picking Michael, and vocal belting Brian. Fierce, folksy, with a touch o’ the Irish, the Mutineers encouraged beers to be swung and choruses to be shouted back. If they had bagpipes, I’d a thought they were related to the Dropkick Murphy’s. Like a second cousin once removed.

That was enough to satisfy my musical need that night. It was at here that I decided to review local bands only. Very convenient.

The Blues & Greys 
Friday night, because Lindsey Ann is a lovely local talented songstress, I headed over to Muddy Waters to check out The Blues & Greys. The Blues & Grays sound exactly like their name – dark & moody, with Lindsey Ann’s vocals adding vibrant color and depth to the tempo. Although this was only their second show together, The Blues & Greys demonstrated a talent the will simply grow as the band melds together.     

Saturday day, because I like to party (let’s be honest), I headed early to the NN Block Party. As part of the NNMC&F, New Noise takes over part of the Funk Zone. According to Theimer, “the organic growth of the New Noise Block Party (which featured the hot female trio HAIM) in the Funk Zone was a huge step in the right direction for us.” Shutting down Mason Street, setting up a beer garden and a stage, and having food trucks come in to cater to the patron’s hunger, New Noise created the perfect party situation.

photo by paul dunkley
And there ain’t no party like a festival beer garden partay. This one had a silent disco. If you are not familiar, as I was not, this is when certain people in the party wear headphones and have DJ music piped into them that only they can hear, making the peeps with headphones dance around like maniacs or jellyfish. It really is quite hilarious (to watch). Ah yes, the music.

photo by paul dunkley
You better believe the  SB locals knew which party band to see – King City, a hodgepodge of members from bands of the likes of The Mad Caddies, No Use For A Name, Rich Kids on LSD, and Lagwagon playing a fusion of surf mariachi polka punk rock with minimal vocals. Pure sunny Santa Barbara style Saturday afternoon party. Seriously.

I think this year's New Noise Conference & Festival wasdefinitely our best yet,” claims Theimer. “We really look forward to working with the City of Santa Barbara to keep creating an experience that both attracts visitors and is still a uniquely "SB" event… We literally could not do this fest without support from the community. SB has DEFINITELY been good to us and we are extremely grateful.”

New Noise really did outdue themselves this year, there was so much to see, so much to do, so much to hear.  And it was right here in our backyard. 

September 21, 2013

Matt Armor @ Muddy Waters ~ September 21, 2013

Bringing Country Back 

I’m not ashamed to say that I am a fan of country. But of the new roots rock alternative country that has made its way to the mainstream again. Think Hank Williams III and Ryan Bingham - the type of country that derives its soul from blues, honky-tonk, and a bit of cow punk.  

Luckily, Santa Barbara is home to one Matt Armor (of Blazing Haley) whose new solo venture is pure roots rock alternative country. Matt Armor recently played a set at Muddy Waters with a handful of friends just in time to promote his new kickstarter campaign for his upcoming 12 song album. With his strong twangy voice and incredible vocal range, Armor’s new collection of songs vary from upbeat honky-tonk dance tunes to low sung country ballads.

The set was dark, loud, and intimate when Armor premiered his new work and new band. As the songs unfolded, it was easy to get lost in the pure country of it all. The ballads were heartfelt and delivered with intensity, while the more upbeat songs got the crowd dancing (but not 2-stepping).

According to Armor, this is the record he’s always wanted to do, an Americana/Blues/Honky Tonk/Rockabilly album with some traditional and some not so traditional songs. The band is still getting used to playing with each other, but the crowd was very receptive, Armor asserts “You pour out your heart, and hope they like it!” And like it they did.

It was a good ol’ time that’s bound to bring country back.  

For more information on Matt Armor’s kickstarter, go to

August 23, 2013

Lucero @ Velvet Jones ~ August 22, 2013

Nights Like These

It might be obvious by now that I really enjoy my gritty rocks shows. Give me a gruffy man with a gruffy voice and a guitar and I am mesmerized. Now give me a showcase of gruffy men… and I am transcended to a dark southern bar crying alone into my whiskey.

Velvet Jones created a showcase to do just that. The lineup hosted Santa Barbara’s own Brian Kinsella (of the Kinsella Brothers) and Donald Spence (of Versus the World), along with veteran Tennessee rockers Lucero. The gruff factor here can get no larger.

And the local gruffians love these visits from the south. For Donald Spence, it was good to see his buddies.  “I have history with the Lucero guys so it’s always nice to catch up, but other than that I'm a huge fan of their band. You add that on top of playing a home town show where you have a room full of faces you know and love... The night couldn't get much better.” Donald adds, “Until Dave Hause jumps on stage and sings a song with you.” Messing up the lyrics to the cover of Alkaline Trio’s “Radio” (I added that! Had to be said).  

If you have never been to a Lucero show, you might not understand the “mentality,” if you will, required to create an authentic gritty southern sound. We are talking deep soulful lyrics delivered in a raspy rock worn voice, southern influenced punk cords, twangy steel guitar riffs, and whiskey – lots of whiskey.

Ok, I can’t say that the whiskey directly influences the sound
of the music – but c’mon, it influences the mentality for sure. At least in this crowd it did. The dance floor was full of fans swaying and singing along with the band, sloshing beers and hugging each other. It was as if the sad songs brought everyone closer together.   

Lucero was exactly what you want from a southern rock band. They are real. No pomp or circumstance. Gritty, sweaty, and rough around the edges. And sure, I might not have actually cried alone into my whiskey that night, but I did have drinks with my friends and danced to some good southern soul.                                                                                   

July 25, 2013

Pepper ~ July 25, 2013 @ Playback Recording Studio

photo by p.dunkley

Because It’s Fun

I have to admit, I was never a big Pepper fan. I was too old (maturity wise) when they hit the scene. I am, however, a fan of Santa Barbara’s own 92.9 KjEE and of Playback Recording Studio. These two local businesses joined forces to bring Pepper to Santa Barbara to perform a private acoustic show for KjEE’s Summer Sessions.

Pepper, for those of you who may not know,  is a threesome consisting of Kaleo Wassman (vocals/guitar), Bret Bollinger (vocals/Bass), and Yesod Williams (drums). Hailing from Hawaii, Pepper is known for their reggae rock party anthems. The band has been touring aggressively and has not released an album in five years. Their most recent track, “F* Around,” is getting good radio play and a new album is due out in September.

When asked why bring Pepper to all the way to SB to perform a private show for only forty people, KjEE’s marketing director Stephen (“Blazer”) Meade responded, “Because it’s fun.” Yup, can’t argue with that kind of logic.

It was an odd scene. Pepper came out to a crowd of forty
photo by p.dunkley
Santa Barbarians sitting crossed legged on the stone floor of the small recording studio underneath what Bret called a “vegan chandelier” (wooden chandelier which look oddly a lot like antlers).  Kaleo quickly claimed the crowd looked like “a game of duck-duck goose on crack.” Despite the oddness of it all, they seemed open to the situation.

Pepper, photo by p.dunkley 
The first song was an acoustic version of “Give It Up.” Not a romantic song by far, but they held in giggles as they softly sung the lewd lyrics. This is how they won me over. They were funny, given the situation, and very humble. Kaleo frankly stated they didn’t understand what was going on here, then began telling tour stories. Bret told stories of their first visit to Isla Vista, naïve right off the Island. They even brought up their tour guy to do an impromptu comedy skit - known to some in the crowd, but not to me.  

Pepper proceeded to play five more songs, two of which were new. In between each song they continued to banter and play with the audience, asking questions, telling stories, ratting each other out. It was an experience to see the party band being so genuine and down to earth. If the party rock reggae didn’t win ya over, the charm of the Island boys did. Indeed, it was fun.   

July 16, 2013

Summer Shakedown 2013 ~ July 14, 2013 @ Haley Ashbury Studios

Get Down for the Sake of Getting Down

photo by p.dunkly
Imagine, if you will… a beautiful summer day, neon pop colors, surf loving vibes, vibrant giant jellyfishes, rocking new music, local commodities for sale, a family friendly environment… Now imagine this in your very own neighborhood, walking distance from the beach and downtown Santa Barbara.

If you went to the inaugural Summer Shakedown event in the Funk Zone this last weekend, you don’t have to imagine it, you experienced­­­­­ it.

The pop-up day festival was the conception of a few of
Jessica Puchli of NNSB, Kyran Million of KM Productions
Santa Barbara’s established and budding local music promoters. New Noise Santa Barbara, along with Kyran Million Productions and Haley Ashbury Studios, had a vision of a festival that featured more local artists in an outdoor setting that was a family friendly event. According to Kyran, “The day setting allows for more freedom for families to enjoy local businesses, vendors, and artists; giving Santa Barbara a reason to connect and a space to bring their families. This festival is not solely focused on the music or art, but people being engaged with each other. Hopefully, creating a sense of community.”

And create they did. Arts from Scraps, a local business that sells gently used items for art stuff, had a table where patrons could build “wish necklaces” – with little bottles to hold your wishes and gems, free for all to enjoy. Some of the local vendors slinging goods included McConnells Ice Cream, Figueroa Mountain Brewery, and Blaze n Blues BBQ.  Businesses that contributed to the event included KjEE, Arbor Skate Shop, and Eureka Burger. All this to build community.

But of course – what of the music? Kyran claimed the Summer Shakedown was created for people to get down for the sake of getting down and they made an effort to bring new music that’s happening right now to SB. Some local music, some not. Jared and The Mills are from Arizona, Torches are from LA. The Kinds, Indian Trading Furs, and Saint Anne’s Place – all from Santa Barbara baby.

Each band offered a different flavor. Need some indie rock – you got Torches. Need some bluesy rock jams with a strong female voice – The Kinds. Need some fast paced folk rock – Indian Trading Furs. Need some psychedelic rock – St. Anne’s Place.

The Kinds, photo by p.dunkley
There’s an opportunity to fall in love with something new. I fell in love with The Kinds (mostly because I have seen the other bands before, and The Kinds were new to me – I like new). The Kinds consists of Khasy Modisette (vocals, guitar), Nathan Modisette (bass), Anders Bergstrom (guitar/keys), and Erich Riedl (drums, owner Haley Ashbury Studios). Khasy’s voice is gripping, drawing you in and keeping you there until you are a bit uncomfortable. The music is rootsy, combining easy rock jams with a bit of southern soul and California ease. The Kinds have a sophisticated sound, that is both new and familiar. The future is bright for this band.

Imagined or not, the Summer Shakedown accomplished what the creators set out to do – it brought the Santa Barbara community together to enjoy new music, local vendors and artists, and each other. Cheers to getting down! 

The gentle giant

The SB Community

June 29, 2013

Scorpios featuring Joey Cape & Jon Snodgrass @ Velvet Jones ~ June 28, 2013

photo by vintage iPhone

To All My Friends

Any opportunity to spend time with Santa Barbara rock stars in a small intimate venue is one I jump upon. Although the artists in this lineup are too humble to consider themselves “stars.”
Joey Cape is the frontman for local punk sensation Lagwagon, as well as Bad Astronaut, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.  Jon Snodgrass is the singer from Drag the River, the southern rock band out of Colorado. Together with Brian Wahlstrom, they form the acoustic act Scorpios, performing in small intimate venues nationwide to create memorable moments between fans and local musicians.
The Scorpios “To All My Friends” tour is dedicated to Tony Sly, the singer from No Use For A Name, and former bandmate to Cape, who passed away a year ago. There’s a lot of Santa Barbara history here. And a lot of local love. The guys played acoustic solo sets, and then played some songs together, trading off instruments. And true to their promise, they intermittently pulled up local rock artists to perform alongside them. All the while, Cape bantered with his friends in the crowd and harassed them as they played on stage.
photo by vintage iPhone
There was a small crowd at Velvet, which made the event that much more special. It’s always somewhat hard to write a review about a show when you are there to experience the moment. And a moment was definitely shared between friends. 

June 15, 2013

Grant Lee Phillips ~ June 14 @ SOhO

photo by p.dunkley

Soul with a Side of Stillness

Quiet, intimate, and early. It’s shows like this I really wish more people would attend, but at the same time I am really glad they don’t. It’s quite the conundrum.

Performing an acoustic set early on a Friday night, during happy hour and before the night revelry begins, Grant Lee Philips was able to be open, raw, and vulnerable in front of a small intimate gathering of fans. And funny – he was so extremely funny. He could probably be successful at stand up as well. But I digress…

The former front-man for Grant Lee Buffalo, Grant Lee Phillips, has evolved into quite the musing solo singer songwriter. His recent solo album, Walking in the Green Corn, is a recording of Phillips’ own journey into his native American heritage and contemplation of man’s tribulations. The music is reflective of all that is right and all that is wrong with life – at the same time, in the same song. His lyrics really call you out, while his sullen guitar sets the tone with a country edge and a hint of gentleness. Songs like “Mona Lisa,” Vanishing Song,” and “Fools Gold” compel you to delve into your own dark places while exploring his.

This was a quiet performance in a dark room with somber reflective songs and an attentive audience. One guy yelled out, “Play something dark!” To which Phillips joked that all his music was dark.  But I thought his music was soulful with just a hint of stillness.

For more on Grant Lee Phillips, go to

May 19, 2013

Orlando Napier @ Feed the Funk Benefit, Oreana Winery ~ May 18, 2013

photo by p. dunkley
Get Funky

Santa Barbara is full of things to do. A Saturday night could have endless possibilities. So it seemed a benefit that promotes young adults getting more involved in local music and community causes, while enjoying great blues music and yummy local eats, was a winner!

The Young Adult Division (YAD) of the Jewish Federation created “Feed the Funk,” an outreach event to promote leadership amongst young professionals who also enjoy the local music scene. The foundation supports and provides social service programs to the Santa Barbara community. Tonight they provided a party.

Headlining the event was local R&B golden boy Orlando
photo by p.dunkley
Napier. Born in LA, but musically fashioned in Santa Barbara, Napier performed R&B stylings with his saxophonist father and band. Seated at the keyboards and hiding behind sunglasses, Napier belted original blues from his heart. His music is a mix of classic blues with a touch of hip-hop. The music is danceable and lively, a perfect introduction to blues for those newbies in attendance.    

photo of Rob & Kate by p.dunkley 
The event was definitely a winner. The night was warm and clear, the food was local and delicious, the music was fresh and bluesy. And all this for a good cause. Makes it easy to give back while getting funky.

May 12, 2013

Phantom Pomps @ Seven Bar and Kitchen ~ May 11, 2013

photos by Sara Fiske

A Roaring Good Time

Seven Bar and Kitchen seems to be the hot spot lately. Locals from every scene pour into this tiny speak easy pub to have a good time in the funk zone.

To take advantage of Seven Bar’s look and feel, and the fact that The Great Gatsby opened in theaters this week, and because it was Chelsea Lancaster's birthday, Seven Bar threw a Prohibition Party with no holds bar. 

Part of the nifty lineup included local rockabillies, The Phantom Pomps. With Dakota Serge on stand up bass, lady Kelli Alexandra on drums, and legendary rock n roll singer Chris Story on the mic, they set the place hopping. Labeled as “rockabilly,” these guys really seemed more of a mini hardcore big band in this scene. Fast jams, quirky lyrics, and tons of personality, it’s hard not to get caught in the crowd of dancers.

The music, the ambiance, the costumes, and the hooch really created the feel I imagine a legitimate speak easy would have. It was a rip roaring good time. 

May 1, 2013

The DTease ~ April 27, 2013 @ SOhO

I Got Mine and You Can Have Some

A public service announcements comes on, sirens wail, smoke fills the air  – now you know The DTease have arrived. 

The DTease are a local Santa Barbara glam rock band created a year and a half ago, a fully formed vision of lead singer Wilson Gil’s frenzied mind. Banned from SOhO after their first show (about a year and a half ago) due to their complete demolition of everything, they made their return with what Wil calls a “now controlled demolition.” A benefit of trial and error.

The show itself consists of strobe lights, smoke, barely clad dancers, confetti guns, pillow fights, crowd surfing, glow sticks, shinny suits, shoe drinking, literary quotes – oh, and of course, rock and roll.

The DTease immediately assault your senses with hard hitting rock and intelligent lyrics. Wil strives to gets his point across through his performance drawing on inspirations like Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop, urging the crowd to take his lead as permission to let go of inhibitions. The songs are political, sexual, and humorous.  Hopefully the audience grasp that this is performance art at its finest, there is a point to the madness.

The set takes you from a public service announcement (“Insurgent”), through corporate corruption (“Wall Street Prostitute”), to some down and dirty rock (“I Got Mine”), and ends in “an ejaculation of feathers” (“Dirty Mattress”). And just when you thought it was over and you were satisfied, they erupt in one last blast (“Come Again”).  Wil claims “it’s like really good sex – sloppy but worth the clean up.”

According to Wil, “it is hard to go to a DTease show and not have a good time.”  And he’s not wrong. ‘Cause I got mine… and you can have some.

Upcoming DTease Shows - June 6th at Velvet Jones.

April 21, 2013

Gaslight Anthem ~ April 20 @ The Majestic Ventura Theater

photo by mishel "meow" orloff

Did You Hear Your Favorite Song One Last Time?

To say I was excited would be an understatement. The Gaslight Anthem show had finally arrived! And I made sure to maintain throughout Earth Day festivities so I would be as clear as day and able to fully absorb the ’59 sound.

The Gaslight Anthem is rock band from Jersey whose members include Brian Fallon (vocals), Alex Rosamilia (Guitar), Alex Levine (bass), and Benny Horowitz (drums).

A relatively young band, Gaslight formed in 2006 and has four albums under their belt. Their earlier albums were more punk in nature, and as they matured, their music has mellowed. Some would say they are a post hardcore punk band, but they have evolved over time to be just a great American rock band. Hailing from the same state as The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, they bring a similar raw guttural rock sound, just to faster beats. Their latest release, Handwritten, has been the most accepted in the mainstream to date.

The vibe at the Majestic Ventura Theater that night was warm and friendly; there definitely was a cheerful buzz in the air.
photo by mishel "meow" orloff
Walking in, my group was instantly scooped up and whizzed away to VIP. Benefit of knowing some people who know some people. We were placed next to the godparents of Alex Levine and made instant friends. In this special space, away from the riotous crowd, we were free to get our dance on and sing every song as loud as we possibly could. The godparents eventually asked us to go back stage with them, but my friend just “meowed” at them & ran away. D’oh! Sometimes it doesn’t pay to have weird friends.

Meow-gate aside, the set was 17 songs long, with 6 (six!) encores. That’s a wonderfully long set. It was a combination of their last three albums, heavy on the new stuff, with a cover of Tom Petty’s Refugee. I was a bit bummed they didn’t play anything off Sink or Swim, their first and my favorite album. But not too bummed. They mixed it up good. And apparently I dance more with my left shoulder than my right (sounds odd, but looks good!), because I definitely felt it the next day. 

They ended (2nd to last actually) with my most favorite song, “Here’s Looking at You Kid.” I’m pretty sure you could barely hear Brian over the crowd & myself. And if this were to be my very last Gaslight Anthem show, at least I heard my favorite song one last time.

Set List:
•   Howl
•  The '59 Sound
•  Handwritten
•  Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
•  Old White Lincoln
•  45
•  Biloxi Parish
•  Señor and the Queen
•  The Queen of Lower Chelsea
•  Film Noir
•  Old Haunts
•  Blue Dahlia
•  Refugee (Tom Petty cover)
•  Too Much Blood
•  Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
•  Great Expectations
•  Keepsake
•  She Loves You
•  Mulholland Drive
•  Desire
•  Mae
•  Here's Looking at You, Kid
•  The Backseat

April 19, 2013

Sigur Ros ~ April 19, 2013 @ The Santa Barbara Bowl

photo by p.dunkley

Quite Deliberate

How have I not heard of Sigur Ros until now? It seems that their sound had just passed me by. But in a way, I am glad to have not heard them until my musical taste had matured enough to handle their complexity.

Sigur Ros is an Icelandic ambient rock band. I could just stop there and be intrigued. But I go on… Their new age
photo by p.dunkley
classical sound incorporates the use of a bowed guitar, a glockenspiel, a toy piano, an oboe, a full horn section, a banjo, a bass, organs, percussions, and sound samples.  Again I could stop here. But I go on… They are also known for Jonsi Birgisson’s falsetto vocals. Stop.

But I go on. They go beyond the sound. Combined with each song is a deliberate visual “effect.” For the first few songs, a sheet of taffeta-like cloth, that I was later told is called a scrim (thank you informative stranger), hung in front of the band at the front of the stage. Along the back of the scrim images were projected, allowing the band to create larger than life shadows.  

photo by p. dunkley
Once the scrim fell, the audience was able to get a sharper picture of the atmosphere and affect Sigur Ros was purposefully creating. In a way, it was quite nice to let the music and images unfold not knowing or suspecting what would be next. Being unfamiliar with the music allowed it to just create itself for me for the very first time in the deliberate manner they were so skillful at crafting. Every move was for an affect. Every pause for a purpose. It was quite lovely.

This was only the second show of the 2013 Santa Barbara Bowl season, but it was possibly the best SB will see this year. And perhaps that was also quite deliberate.