Here's another Saturday post on what I did last night at the Cavern. Chris DJ'd upstairs while Sean Kirkpatrick played a set downstairs. Though there were two other acts playing downstairs, I skipped out on them to spend more time upstairs. Yes, I was one of those guys, but I couldn't help be drawn to where my friends were.
Sean plays in the pAper chAse, a band I'm still really just now discovering. With his solo shows, I'm already a big fan, especially after last night's set. Playing by himself with a full, 88-key keyboard/piano, the sound was spare but that wasn't a drawback. Similar to his stuff with the pAper chAse, there is an almost constant flowing in and out of major and minor keys. Sometimes this happens in just one chord progression. Now, that may sound more like lazy playing, but I disagree. I think this is more of the approach akin to a quote I once heard Page Hamilton say: music theory is a good thing to learn and then forget about.
Sure, angular rhythms with dissonant notes aren't as easy to swallow as simple beats and warm melodies, but when used effectively, they can really work. Sean's solo material is more upbeat than the pAper chAse's material, but they don't sound like half-baked, rejected songs either. I hear traces of Nick Cave, Lou Reed and Tim Kasher in Sean's voice, but I don't think he's apeing anyone's else's voice. In other words, this isn't faceless, saloon balladry.
Seeing the Cavern stuffed to the brim with SOUND team last week, I liked the fact that the last night's downstairs audience was very sparse. Plus, they were respectful: they weren't chatting so loud their voices drowned out the music. Sean was conversational between songs and the audience was responsive. He even made a mention of how he began watching the fabulous documentary, We Jam Econo: the Story of the Minutemen earlier in the evening. As someone who's watched the doc twice in the last week, I could understand the awesomeness that Sean was referring to. In honor of this, Sean covered "Jesus and Tequila" from the Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime. Very choice cover.
Once Sean was done, I headed back upstairs to listen to the tunes Chris and his friend Adam were spinning. I also spent some time with Garrison Reid, who runs the weekly podcast, Indie Interviews. He's yet another great guy that I have on my mental list of people who run helpful resources for underground music. Between questions of "who sings this song?" we heard some really cool mash-ups. Most notably, the backing tracks of Radiohead's "Karma Police" under the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" and the backing tracks of the Cure's "Close to Me" under Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot." Like last week, there were plenty of people dancing to the hip-hop tracks. Unlike last week, there was some PG-friendly rap played too. Hearing Positive K's "I Got a Man" was a nice stroll down memory lane.
At some of point of my time upstairs, I felt like I was hearing and seeing the Gorilla vs. Bear blog live and in living color. Instead of pictures, hyperlinks and comments, this was people, loud music and fun. My timid side wasn't stopping me from hearing the music, so this was rather freeing. Though I wasn't really that familiar with all Chris was spinning nor was I that familiar with what Sean's material, I was glad I stepped out and had some actual fun.