July 8th, 2013
Last Friday, Hide and Seek Gallery hosted Light Thieves’ release party for their new album “Spirit Homes.” Opening for them were post punk outfit Werebear along with the DIY bedroom pop of Amber Fargano in her latest group Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries.
Werebear are a three piece with their guitarist Cristobal Carrillo sometimes switching to a bassy synth. The songs from their first EP, and others which didn’t feature the synth, captured a raw, bare bones garage punk, with distorted two chord riffs, core repeating bass lines, and ferocious, sometimes even antagonistic lyrics, that is everything you would expect of a band named after a mythical beast. The other songs they played were stretching that form, usually by incorporating the synth. This took away from the edge of their other material but brought a lot of diversity to their set so it never felt like you were listening to the same song. Their biggest stretch from that form was a well done cover of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall” that you probably remember from the Drive soundtrack.
It is difficult to overstate the wonderment that is Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries. She has the incredible talent of playing snare, glockenspiel, and a small organ, all at once, hitting the glockenspiel in between a catchy snare rhythm and working the organ with her free hand. Though sparse, the delivery was deceptively whole, creating memorable melodies and snappy beats. Her Puff Pastries are a trio of backup singers/dancers who throughout provide this nostalgic, doo wop-esque air of professional entertainment that I haven’t felt since I first heard the B-52’s. Before they went on, they handed out thirty or so sparklers to audience members which proved to be fun and only slightly dangerous. This uncommon use of audience participation and the costumes/props/altar all were creative efforts that distinguish them and make their performance that much more special.
Light Thieves’ had an electric set where they played most all of their new album plus two tracks from their previously released split EP. They are made up of guitar, bass, drums, and a couple synths, and their sound falls heavy on the side of electronic, pedal driven prog rock. The backdrop of Robert Amador’s “Spaceman” (see album cover) combined with a projector of primary colors were great touches by Hide and Seek. The levels throughout were carefully balanced and a borrowed PA made for a heavy, solid sound. In between songs they brought out samples from “Zelda: Ocarina of Time” that fit well as interludes and scored points with old school gamers in the audience. The Thieves’ themselves looked like they were having a blast playing to their friends and fans, particularly Erica who was moving around stage, swinging her bass around, and tilting her head back to soak in the magnetic glow of their space age sound.
If the true test of a band is replicating their studio sound to the stage, they’ve won big time. I highly recommend several spins of “Spirit Homes” and a show or two to see for yourself.
Words by Conor Miles
Photo by Gary Magill