Saturday, March 31, 2007

Field Trip! San Francisco- Apples in Stereo, Casper and the Cookies, and the Explorers Club @ the Independent Friday March 23, 2007

Right. I know. This is in San Francisco, however had I been in LA on Thursday night instead of driving the I-5 up North I would have been at Spaceland watching Apples in Stereo, but instead I saw them Friday night at the Independent up in San Francisco.

For all the differences made between Northern California and Los Angeles, I’ll admit that the crowds really were not that different from each other. Boys in faded old t-shirts with obscure band names and girls in footless tights with oversized cinched waist dresses packed themselves in a space made to feel larger by its high ceilings. The drinks pricey, and more ‘diet’ than ‘whiskey’ in mine. Also, I’ve found that I’ve become spoiled by The Echo and its smoking patio. Every time we wanted to step outside we had to maneuver through the incoming crowd out to the front of the club and then fish out ids on the way back in; thankfully by the fourth trip outside the door guys remembered our faces.

The Explorers Club, hyped by a friend of mine as sounding “like the Beach Boys” proved to be entertaining and sometimes did, in fact, resemble the musical stylings of their obvious musical influence. I believe there was six guys in the band and about five of them sang doing different harmonies at the same time, and pulled it off, which I would think should register as ‘hard to do’. They had energy and ended the set with a dancing frenzy rendition of “Johnny B. Goode”. However this level of enjoyment for the evening seemed to peter off right about here…

Casper and the Cookies. No, really that’s the name of the second band and yes, they realize it’s dumb, however “they don’t give a fuck”. To cope with the unnatural glam rock induced stream of hippie indie rock before us, it was decided that this band could be watchable if we pretended we were watching outtakes from This Is Spinal Tap 2. It worked for about 5 minutes then we walked away.

Apples in Stereo always came off to me as catchy, poppy fun songs you could drive around the country on a Sunday and listen to, or make cupcakes; something like that. Now I find that the music’s been stretched to try and fit into a very broad commercial category and that does not come off well live. The performance was a bit stiff and the songs, well, unfortunately the songs started to blend together and start to sound the same. I also miss the boy/girl harmony that is now lacking due to the departure of drummer Hilarie Sidney, who now resides in the band the High Water Marks. Sigh. Just not that exciting now.

Ah well. So, there may be future field trips planned for shows in Portland and possibly Tom Jones in Vegas. I know you are ALL interested to know about that.

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