by Ben Funkhouser
Thursday night is not usually a happenin’ time for me, but October 30th was an exception. Brooklyn’s Parts & Labor and Gowns from California are on tour and played an all ages show at the Vera Project. I left my house around 7:50PM with my good buddy Jake, hoping to catch the opening band, Medieval Women, a Seattle band consisting of two women and a man. Their music was slow, poppy Beat Happening-style punk, especially when the male guitarist took lead vocals. Oddly enough, everything ran perfectly on time. Just as Medieval Women had started at eight, as scheduled, Gowns began exactly at nine. Gowns’ performance was really moving. They played a ton of songs from their new album, Red State. Singer Erika Anderson had a beautiful, but wavering voice, sort of reminiscent of country western music. I found out yesterday that their drummer, Corey Fogel, used to be in the Mae Shi and is known for playing drums, literally by dropping marbles on them. Finally, Parts & Labor played their set. Honestly, I was expecting more from this hyped Brooklyn band. I had heard many good things about them from folks who had seen their shows before, and I noticed that they played shows for Todd P, who usually puts together stellar lineups. Their set was hit and miss for me; some songs were really good, some were boring. I noticed, though, that the better songs came from an earlier record. The show ended, and I bought a Gowns LP on honey colored vinyl. Pretty good show all around.
The next day, I got up, put on my Halloween costume, and went to school. Since my mother is perhaps the greatest costumer of all time, I was looking pretty sharp as Luke Skywalker. Bam! School was over and I walked home. Later that night, I went to a school Halloween party, which turned out to be super lame. Again with my friend Jake, I went to Neumos to see one of my favorite bands ever, Abe Vigoda. We caught a little bit of the opening band, Telepathe, and got the supreme pleasure of watching each member of Abe Vigoda walk into the dressing room area and come out in a dress. Not only that, the guitarist of Telepathe took her shirt off, fully exposing herself, and apparently was scolded by the security. Pretty funny. Anyway, Abe Vigoda come onstage and blast into their first song, and first single from the sorta new record Skeleton. Needless to say, they ripped it up with a fast set that included only a little talking from guitarist Juan Velazquez, who was super stoked to be playing, and at a big club like Neumos. After the set, Jake and I talked to Juan about how awesome his band was and handed him our own band’s CD. Shameless, yes, but whatever. He turned out to be a super friendly dude and invited us to hang out with them later at a mutual buddy’s house. I ended up getting sick and not going, but it was a killer Halloween, and maybe my first without candy.
It had been a long weekend, but on Saturday night I was still ready to par-tee! My buddy Jake and I headed to Healthy Times Fun Club, my favorite place to see a show in this wonderful city! It’s Day of the Dead/90’s cover night! 25+ bands and musicians are covering 90’s hits. As usual, vegan dinner was served, and many friends and people showed up to enjoy the night. There were people a little too old for Halloween and some who outgrew it before I was born, like the two old punks who sat on the couch the whole night with their Crass shirts and semi-dyed hair. I’m not saying that Crass is bad -- they’re actually one of my favorite bands -- but those old people who didn’t move at all totally sucked. Onward! Notable performers were Seahouse, Bow + Arrow (who I’ll get to later), Talbot Tagora, The Last Slice of Butter, World History, and Iji. Everything was super fun, including a sweet Green Day cover and a heartwarming rendition of “I’m The One Who Wants to Be with you” by Mr. Big, performed by World History, I think. To be honest, it got confusing and the incestuous nature of Seattle bands showed in the swapping of members. My two favorite covers, by far, were by The Last Slice of Butter and Bow + Arrow. The Last Slice of Butter, a radical “425” bass and drum combo, added Mark from Talbot Tagora on guitar to play the best damn cover of the night, “Cannonball” by the Breeders. Bow + Arrow noodled a little bit, then slammed into their cover, “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters. It was excellent.
A few photos by Sarah Stokes :
Bow + Arrow
Here’s what’s coming up:
Nov. 19th -- of Montreal, HEALTH at Showbox SoDo
Nov. 21st -- Deerhunter, Times New Viking, New Faces ay Neumos
Nov, 21st -- Lucky Dragons, Hecuba, Pit er Pat, Tinsel at the Vera Project
Nov. 25th -- AIDS Wolf, Midwife, Masters and Johnson at the Vera Project