So, in my mind, probably the best thing about the much-maligned/praised (depending on your sphere of influence) KEXP is their role in showcasing new local talent. Audioasis, the station’s weekly Pac-NW-only show, is really the program they should be playing every night from 6-9 pm, given the depth, breadth, and variety of music being made locally here in our fair green corner of the country. I, of course, contribute to a locally-themed music blog, and am admittedly biased towards a suggestion of this nature. And it’s not without its narcissism. For one, I’d be able to listen more frequently, as Saturday nights are not—however romantic it may sound—often spent in front of the old Philco radio. And for two, there would be…let’s see…SEVEN times the airplay and exposure for the myriad bands that deserve it. This, most likely, will never happen, but it was in my mind when K. leDoux and our female cohorts decided to make our way to an early show at the High Dive this past Saturday (3/1). There Audioasis was set to broadcast one of the bright, chaotic spots of the Seattle scene: Feral Children.
Last time I saw Feral Children’s percussion-heavy, angst-ridden noise rock was on the Showbox stage for KEXP’s Yule Benefit (yes, this band has benefited from the station-inflicted ‘HRS’—Heavy Rotation Syndrome, but don’t let that deter you, it’s warranted), where they opened for nüe-hippy outfit Yeasayer. Their set was good, it was passionate, and they were the most popular act on the bill (judging from the crowds); but their cohesiveness was a bit off. It seems the group has used their recent Best coast tour and recent signing to local label Sarathan Records to hone their reckless, dual-drumming approach and impulsive vocal tradeoffs, because they sounded tight and on point. The musical bedlam that has become their signature, however, was thankfully in tact.
Their set consisted of seven songs—five off last year’s Second To The Last Frontier and a couple older tunes from an EP released in 2006: Eternity Emergency. STTLF is a great record because it sounds spastic and noisy at the same time as it sounds atmospheric and moody. Each member brings something defiantly unique to the stage, and this is where the live music flourishes. There is the primary vocalist and resident beat-keeper Jeff Keenan, who uses a tom-kit while standing (read: bouncing) to offset his often wordless, falsetto choruses. Bassist-cum-vocalist Jim Cotton pounds out spiky, disjointed bass lines to complement his own hollering. There’s guitarist Josh Gamble, who seems bent on exacting revenge upon his own guitar. On more than one occasion, I had to crane my neck, only to find him hunched over on his knees seemingly performing surgery for maximum racket. Drummer Bill Cole plays his kit with an ardent staccato clamor, feeding energy to the rest of the players by driving it into his snare. But it’s the keyboards that ultimately stand out for me. Sergey Posrednikov adds a texture to Feral Children’s music that ranges from electronica to new wave to piano-rock, creating both a backdrop and a focal point to their petulant and shadowy catalog. In short, it’s totally awesome.
However, these roles are not succinctly defined, as Keenan played guitar at one point, Cotton shed his bass guitar for a time, and Gamble did his best to hammer away on the keg-drum for a song. At one point, Keenan remarked that the last time they played the High Dive, he had a fever. No, not for more cowbell, you dummy, but a real fever. Turns out this time, his fever was for the rock ‘n roll.
I think I dig this band because they have a relatively unique sound, they do their own thing and they seem infectiously passionate about their music. Hell, their set put me in a great freakin’ mood for the rest of the night, so that’s really all the convincing I, or you, should need. They’ll be in Austin for SXSW in a few weeks, and at the Cha Cha Lounge (huh?) April 13th. Catch ‘em while you can.
P.S. You can listen to the broadcast here—but only for the next 2 weeks!