Fruity, bubbly writing on the cement entrances to residence halls, flyer upon flyer upon wall upon flyer resulting in inevitable hyper-active retina activity, and the ever-so-traditional…
“What are you doing tonight?”
“I don’t know. What are you doing?” [repeat 10 times adding “dude” every other time]
Which accounts for the noticeably stray folk in the audience that seem to have nothing better to do. However, that is usually the case. Chances are you didn’t get very far without hearing something about the StarFlyer59, Rand-Univac, and Dance Imperative show on Tuesday night out in The Mall. I think I got about 22 feet… (Lolita has been reminding me about the show since last Tuesday. She expressed an intensely desired level of intimacy with the lead vocalist of StarFlyer59 based solely on appearance).
The show began promptly at 8:00 p.m. with the mellow yet concentrated stage presence and over-all attitude of Dance Imperative (Ryan Phillips on vocals, Nathan Lowe on drums, and Joel Watrous on bass). To be perfectly honest, I didn’t quite know what to think at first. I mean, I liked what I was hearing, but there seemed to be so much going on in general that I couldn’t stay focused on just one thing. It wasn’t that the boys and girls in attendance were running around naked in a devilish attempt to try and distract me from discovering my true position on Dance Imperative. I couldn’t decide whether I should consider the band’s greatest musical strength to be mastery of their instruments, their entertainment value, or their vocals and harmonies. For a band that has only been together officially for five months, I found that Dance Imperative had a pretty strong case of all three.
When interviewed (if one could even call it that) after the show, I think Ryan Phillips gave me the best answer I’ve ever heard to the question of lyrical and general influence: “I like to take eccentric characters from movies-such as Harold and Maude where the female character steals a tree from the city with the intent of planting it in the forest… or other greats and take their experiences and place them into songs. Lyrically, it’s hard to explain. For example, take the girl who wears sandals all year long in protest of the seasons changing-she is defiant of how things are. I’m not trying to prove anything [with the lyrics], but there are so many predictable constants in the universe and I would like to point at those.”
I thought that was a great answer. He is obviously an educated man with a purpose. Phillips also said that the band has been pretty busy with recording, but is still open for shows. Dance Imperative is expecting a five (or six) song EP out in the middle of July and anticipating some touring next summer. As a matter of fact, while I was sitting there, Ryan was carrying on a super side conversation with two fans inquiring about shows in their area-needless to say, Phillips wrote down the contact information and sounded generally pleased while handing the two lovely ladies Dance Imperative pins. What a nice guy!
And the show went on.
Rand-Univac. Indescribable. I believe a friend once described them as “trippy-neo-classic-rock-post-grunge-hippie-funk.” However, on the Spokane Bands web page, these gentlemen describe themselves as, “evoking elements of Radiohead, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Travis, without really sounding like any of these bands.” The band cites influences such as Don Caballero, Yes, Tortoise, Yesterday’s New Quintet, American Football, and modern composers such as Claude Debussy and Samuel Barber. Rand-Univac is composed of Andrew, an admirer of indie/math-rock/prog-rock on bass, Josh from the greater Seattle area, Mr. Kevin jazz influence, and Jeremiah with the folk/old school country background. In any case, whomever such a great credit should be attributed, the crowd was swaying and almost on the brink of dancing-which, if you’ve seen some of the people at Eastern Washington, is a HUGE deal for a one and a half year old band. Rand-Univac has a band spanking new CD out titled “Sounds of Rand-Univac”… kind of like a “vintage record title thing.” One might purchase the CD (which I urge you to do) at the band’s website-www.redshiftrecordings.com. The band’s next show will be this Friday, June 7 along with Ambitious Career Woman, Non-Perishable, and Buddy Ruckus. Mark the calendar. If, for some horrible reason you miss the show on June 7, have no fear-Rand-Univac is playing June 13 at CafÃ© Sole (downtown Spokane) with Air Show and Farewell Bike Ride.
Last, but never least. StarFlyer59. What to say, what to say? Before attending, I noticed that these guys were on Tooth and Nail Records (home of Crash Rickshaw, Further Seems Forever, The Juliana Theory, and other noted artists), which, in my book, is an accomplishment. Jason Martin on vocals, Jeff Cloud on bass, and Joseph Esquibel on drums make up the melodious resonance of StarFlyer59. Finalizing the night and slowly bringing it to an end with a big bang, StarFlyer59 lead the audience into the night with their beautiful music that didn’t put anyone to sleep.
The people who set up this event did a really good job of getting musicians who reside in the same genre to play-which is good and bad at the same time. It is good because fans of one particular type of music might become exposed to new bands of the same genre. It is bad because people who are fans of all types of music, but haven’t figured out the levels of adoration for each, get bombarded with what sounds like the same sounds, tunes, chords, etc. over and over when in reality, they aren’t the same at all. To be honest, by the time StarFlyer59 played, my ears were tired. It didn’t mean they didn’t like what was being said to them, they’re just sensitive and they get moody when they don’t get enough sleep.
Two thumbs up for those who hung in there and three thumbs up to all the bands who gained and earned new fans last night. Now remember, June 7, 2002-be there or be somewhere else. A bunch of rad bands (as listed before) including Rand-Univac (an opportunity to make it up to your pitiful self if you missed the show) are playing. Invite your buddies, your girlfriends, your boyfriends, and your mom and come to the PUB to have a good time.