“I heard today was the first nice day in quite a while, right?” As his band Cayucas starts in on another track of bright, warm, surf pop gold, he banters with a Seattle winter crowd who got to go out in the sun in early March – a near miraculous event by any account. “Coincidence? I don’t think so,” he finished with a smile. If the beautiful weather wasn’t enough, this Barboza set from the California foursome was the capper. Cayucas played through their debut record, Bigfoot (out last year on Secretly Canadian), in beautiful, vibrant fashion and gave us a shot of vitamin D and adrenaline in the middle of a rainy week. Together with great opening sets from LA folk-rock band Miner and Seattle locals A Weekend at the Feelies, Cayucas brought us an excellent Wednesday night and worthy substitute for the SXSW action going on down south.
Jordan Campbell and his pals make some pretty excellent tunes as A Weekend at the Feelies. They match shoegaze guitar tone with driving, upbeat tracks that filled Barboza front to back with excellent noise. In the realm of the genre, the band err on the side of shape and hook rather than size and noise level. This plays well for them – the group have crafted some excellent songs even at such a young stage as a band. Campbell also kept the crowd rolling with some bizarre and endearing stage banter. Altogether, A Weekend at the Feelies made the local opener set as good as it can get.
A Weekend at the Feelies:
It’s way too appropriate that Justin Miner got to name his band after his own name. Miner already sounds like a great modern folk-rock band, harking back to the charm and reward of a yesteryear trade with a homespun songwriting style that feels like it comes straight out of the California hills. But Justin, his wife Kate, brother Jeremy, and cousin Amanda deserve the name, as their family band has more than a few great songs and a wonderfully inclusive onstage presence that had much of the crowd present engaged for the duration. Miner played “Hey Love” and many of their other songs gaining some pop recognition, and the crowd only grew as their set went on. Justin and Kate traded off lead vocals and the whole band had excellent chemistry. While far removed from the surf sound of Cayucas, Miner opened up the night with a similarly inviting presence and all encompassing sound.
Cayucas first trip up to Seattle was just over a year ago, when they opened for Ra Ra Riot at the Neptune. Bigfoot hadn’t dropped yet, and Yudin was still getting used to bringing his bedroom beach project to the stage with a full band. But after the record dropped, he made a return, playing much of the album’s material in fuller, brighter form. But the third time’s a charm, and Cayucas third Seattle show (their second in support of Bigfoot) easily marks their best local performance to date. Yudin and his band (including his twin brother Ben) played their album in full, minus one track. These arrangements have only gotten tighter and more engaging with time. “Cayucos” has become a near-punk throwdown of an opener. “Will ‘The Thrill'” now includes an expansive jam session outro that takes the slowed down vibe to new emotional heights. “Swimsuit”, the b-side to the “Cayucos” 7″, was sped up and amped up into a dance number to close the night with a bang. Along the way, Cayucas played two tracks yet to be released: the northern California tribute “Hella” and the sultry, sweet-as-can-be ballad “Dancing At The Blue Lagoon”. Cayucas set was short and sweet, but easily their most refined to date, and the new numbers have us excited to see what Yudin drops next. Until then, we thank Cayucas for giving us a midweek tropical escape.