Within the walls of Mute City, a very intriguing show took place last night. Unlike the typical format that one would expect where the music gets heavier as the night went on, this show took that format and flipped it on it’s head.
Stormo was the first band to hit the stage, although I cannot remember where they are based, but likely in Michigan. This four piece featured two guitarists that rotated between rhythm and melody, a bassist and a drummer. Their sound was derived from a fitting combination of bands like Radiohead, specifically from OK Computer and before, to more modern pioneers of 2010’s indie rock such as Hypoluxo. It was a very pleasing listening experience, as the grooves that were laid down by the drummer really allowed for the opening up of the guitar work. Stormo’s tunes were bouncy, fun, and laid back sometimes even within the same compositions. The song selection was very entertaining to open up the night. Although they have no social media, make sure to check them out at future events, as I imagine they will be back at Mute City sometime this year.
The second band to rock everyone’s socks off was the Toledo-based power punk band called Equipment. I am not as well versed in punk bands as others, but based on my observations they had a Green Day vibe from their early 90s days. Again, this is testament to the necessity to learn more about punk bands, as my basis is within math rock and post-hardcore metal. Regardless, this four piece got everyone super hyped, as their chunky and fast guitars combined with excruciating drums caused some broken necks as well as a tumultuous listening experience. Their music was centered around drawing back on past experiences and struggles. The band’s eight day tour concludes tonight in Ann Arbor after traveling and touring around Ohio and Michigan. You can listen to their music at the link here.
Next up, in stark contrast, was Greg Ashley, an artist who has been through a tremendous amount of life experience, and his music was strictly done with an acoustic nylon guitar and his soothing vocals. People all sat during this segment in the venue, allowing for an extremely intimate experience that is difficult to find at places other than house shows. Based out of Oakland, California, his tunes are often from a nihilistic point of view, with a lot of emphasis on the effects of drug addiction. Greg even told a personal story from his book about trying cocaine with a friend and how that experience was quite humorous. His music seemed to reminisce on better days, which seems to be a commonality shared within the music community at large, and I can definitely agree with that sentiment. Despite the dark undertones, his music was soothing, similar to the way Mac DeMarco has that type of appeal. In addition, he is a music producer and owns his own recording studio. You can check out Greg’s music here.
Finally, to close out the night was the comically adept guitar/banjo duo called Wine Boys of Peppertown. Their approach to music was similar to Greg, but with a slightly more optimistic point of view. The first two songs they played were originals, one about a tree and the other about being haunted by Japan. The band’s lyrics seemed to be more sporadic and metaphorical as a non straightforward approach to songwriting. Later on before the show concluded, they did a round robin type of song where each person would state their name from peppertown. It was an engaging way to close out the night.
Overall, this show was interesting, my first Thursday night house show, and was a great way to socialize with new faces. The Kalamazoo music scene is only growing, and I hope that many people are able to hop on the bandwagon while the train keeps moving along. More house venues can be found on the DIT Kalamazoo website here.