January 24, 2014

of Montreal ~ January 24, 2014 @ The Hub

Oh, The Things You Learn

photo by P.Dunkley 

To be honest, it has been quite some time since I spent any time on the UC Santa Barbara campus – and even then, I was in grad school so I didn’t have time to hang out much less catch a show at The Hub. Going back 10 years later to review a show was quite a shock to the old system – in a good way.

The Hub essentially is the food court located in the middle of
Jena Pruitt, UCSB ASPB
the UCSB University Center. Most events at The Hub are sponsored by the UCSB Associated Student Program Board. Basically, college students that volunteer to take on huge responsibilities to gain experience in the field of music, event planning, and what not. This was my first time working an event with the UCSB ASPB, Jena Pruitt the publicity coordinator in particular, and my experience was stellar! It might be one of the best events operations in town – who knew?

of Montreal is the band that brought me out to UCSB. Hailing from Athens, Georgia, of Montreal is a six-piece funky, psychedelic pop band that have been on the scene close to 20 years. Their sound fuses electronica with a bit of the Beatles, heavy on the funk. of Montreal’s performances are usually quite visual to support the psychedelic feel of their music. It’s basically a time warp.  

Tonight they laid on the funk. And so did the crowd. Luckily,
photo by Paul Dunkley
The Hub is situated so that if you get a seat at the rail bar in the beer garden (aka, seating area in food court), you are elevated above with the crowd with an unobstructed view of the band. That is, if you choose to sit out the trippy dance fest and observe the scene. And the scene was worth observing as the funk played on.

The lesson I learned from this experience is that The Hub is a great venue for a show, the shows are executed professionally by the ASPB, and the UCSB student body really knows how to get down. I’m definitely coming back (to The Hub, not to school)!

January 20, 2014

Pinback ~ January 20, 2014 @ Velvet Jones

It’s Good To See You

photo by Simpson 
People are sometimes surprised with some of the bands I list as my favorite. Apparently, I have a reputation for liking the harder, faster, louder genres of music – apparently. So when I stated that Pinback was indeed one of my favorites, I wasn’t so surprised by the surprised reactions I received.

Pinback is a truly talented band that has withstood the test of time. Emerging in the late nineties, the band has stayed true to their original sound: melodic, edgy, dark, and somewhat bored. Essentially a duo, Pinback is Zach Smith and Rob Crowe, with Chris Prescott on drums. The two share vocals, Zach providing more monotone versus and Rob hitting the whiny high pitched notes.

Pinback can be seen pretty regularly in Santa Barbara, usually annually at Velvet Jones. This time around they played a Monday night. Expecting a pretty dead show, I was surprised to see the venue full. Having the show be open to all ages obviously helped the attendance, but to be quite frank, I was surprised the young folks of Santa Barbara were even aware of who Pinback were.  But here the kids were, on a school night.

The set started slow with Zach on the keys and a monotone Rob performing “Tres,” a melody from their second album. Pinback continued to play a nice mixture of songs from all five of their albums, with a large number of singles from their 2012 album “Information Retrieved.” Unfortunately, being an old timer, I wasn’t as in love with this album as I was with their earlier works, but the kids in the crowd ate it up. They managed to play well into the 11 o’clock hour before playing their radio hit  “Fortress,” at which point the normally sedentary Rob grab the mic and went into the crowd, ending up way in the back of the bar (probably ordering a shot along the way). After making it back to the stage, they played my favorite “Good to Sea.” At this point the crowd started getting all crazy and began something that resembled a pit – which was quite entertaining being that this was a mellow indie electronic rock show. 

The show was near 26 songs long and was quite lively – for a Pinback show (got to keep it in perspective). I wasn’t disappointed that I went out on a school night, and have to say, Pinback, it’s always good to see you.