Simon Dawes with Band of Horses and Chad Vangaalen
Wednesday · alchemize
The name Simon Dawes conjures up images of an awkward British singer/songwriter, but that image is so far off base, it's in the parking lot across the street from the stadium. Simon Dawes is an Indie Rock quartet based in Los Angeles, one that has earned a rabid fan base that happens to include some of the best bands on the L.A. scene. With a propulsive sound that approximates the tangy sugar rush of having Ray Davies front Jellyfish, Simon Dawes combines swinging dancehall Pop with an edgy Alt.Rock angularity to create a sonic jolt unlike anything on the current Southern California circuit.
Frontman Taylor Simon Goldsmith, the son of the former lead singer of Tower of Power, sports a Kink-y croon that can turn the corner into a wail of Rock desperation in an adrenalized heartbeat, while guitarist Blake Mills moves effortlessly from Pete Townshend riffage to a pretty electric Folk lilt to a sinewy Jazz texture that suggests a cross between Marc Ribot and Stan Ridgway. Understandably, with the kind of range Simon Dawes displays on their about-to-be-released debut Carnivore, perhaps the most important element of the band is the rhythm section of bassist Wylie Gelber and drummer Stuart Johnson. The pair has the uncanny ability to anchor the beat while playing fast and loose with the pulse of the song at hand, sometimes with a goosey Funk groove, sometimes with a quiet Folk breath. With these kinds of all-encompassing chops, it's not surprising to learn that the foursome had written over 60 songs before they'd signed to a label or even secured management. That's the definition of chemistry, my friends, and Simon Dawes is the Rock & Roll beaker where it all gets cooked up.
Simon Dawes' gig with amazing headliners Band of Horses is the first show at the new alchemize. Owner Nick Spencer is reopening the hot spot (which was in Over-the-Rhine until earlier this summer) in Northside, in the space formerly known as Preacher's, at 3929 Spring Grove Ave.
Deftones with Korn, Flyleaf, Stone Sour and Dir en Grey
Tuesday · Riverbend
Over the course of nearly 18 years, Deftones have managed to produce a brutally heavy body of work while incorporating uncharacteristically subtle and artful elements into their sound. This longstanding sense of adventure and adherence to experimentation has elevated Deftones well above the standard sound-and-fury found within the less than enlightened Nu Metal genre in which they are often inappropriately included.
Originally, the members (vocalist/guitarist Chino Moreno, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, drummer Abe Cunningham) met in Sacramento in the late '80s as high school skateboarders. The band was officially assembled in 1988; bassist Chi Cheng assumed the position shortly thereafter. Although mentored by local Metal faves like Korn, Deftones showed their diversity early on, and after years of local and regional touring were signed to Madonna's Maverick label in 1994. With the release of Adrenaline the following year, Deftones broke off association with the Nu Metal community because they felt they were becoming unfairly aligned with a genre that was drifting toward self-parody. 1997's Around the Fur featured a collaboration with Sepultura/Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera and spawned a couple of video-driven hits — "My Own Summer (Shove It)" and "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" — but it was 2000's White Pony that established the band as a viscerally creative force.
Keyboardist/turntablist Frank Delgado, who had contributed to the first two albums, became a full-fledged member of the band and added masterful Trip Hop textures to the proceedings. White Pony wound up selling in the multi-platinum neighborhood and Deftones took home a Best Metal Performance Grammy for "Elite." Three years later, Deftones released their eponymous fourth album, a more classically Metal album that still exhibited Moreno's subtler vocal and musical influences (Weezer, The Cure, The Smiths). Last year, Deftones released B-Sides & Rarities as they continued work on their imminent new studio album, Saturday Night Wrist.
Slated for an Oct. 31 release (the album's first single, "Hole in the Earth," was available three weeks ago on the band's MySpace page), Saturday Night Wrist has had a rocky birth. Eschewing long time producer Terry Date, who had boarded every Deftones album, the band chose legendary producer Bob Ezrin to do the new album, but eventually announced they were scrapping Ezrin's work and recording with Aaron Sprinkle. The last word was that the album, featuring an appearance by System of a Down's Serj Tankian, was being completed with former Far guitarist Shaun Lopez behind the console. Although this kind of producer-hopping generally spells trouble, Deftones' pattern of success and excellence indicates another shredding winner on the horizon. (BB)
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness with She Wants Revenge and Mellowdrone
Tuesday · Bogart's
One of my favorite pastimes is scouring various sources for unusual band names and one of the prime locations for bandspotting is the South by Southwest fest in Austin, Tex. This year's band name competition was a hotly contested three-way tie between You Say Party! We Say Die!; Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly; and (perhaps a slight favorite) Coach Said Not To.
Two years ago, however, there was almost no competition in the best band name category at SXSW, as a local Austin band went home with the honors: I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness.
The two-year-old band was on a hot streak at the time, touting their debut five-track EP, produced by another local luminary, Spoon's Britt Daniel. As much as I wanted to see the band with the spectacular name, schedules are more than slightly conflicting at the festival, and live exposure to ILYBICD had to wait until earlier this year. Worth the wait? No doubt. Live up to the name? Surpassed it.
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness combine the ethereal smoke layering of Talk Talk with a brassed-up take on the shredding Space Rock wash of Hawkwind and the Blue Aeroplanes. ILYBICD is moodily atmospheric yet completely grounded, technically dazzling yet devoid of all noodle/wank histrionics and gauzily ephemeral yet utterly solid. As the dichotomies piled up, ILYBICD applied their unwavering focus to a set of songs that reinforced the band's passion, joy and absolute sincerity. It was an amazing set, made all the more impressive by the fact that it was performed at an afternoon SXSW party, not at one of the evening showcases.
When ILYBICD blows through town this week, they'll be featuring selections from their excellent full-length debut from earlier this year, Fear is on Our Side. Hey, that'd be a great name for a band! (BB)