Friday, May 31, 2013

Music Math

It was my kind of musical equation.

Take a band showing all kinds of influences I love - Muse, Interpol, maybe even a little Radiohead- and add in a personable local singer of whom I've been a fan for at least five years and, voila, you get a band tailor-made for me.

Those Manic Seas was a three-piece (nattily dressed in shirts, ties and suspenders) with a twist.

Their lead singer wasn't a real person.

Instead, a TV was mounted atop a mannequin and the singer's face and voice were on TV.

It only took me a minute to recognize the face from my seat atop the back banquette, and I'm sure my delayed recognition was partly due to the way he was singing.

Usually Ben plays the sensitive type when singing and tonight his vocal delivery had far more of an edge.

Because the music kicked ass in a post-punk kind of way.

Suddenly I saw Ben in the crowd, clearly having a good time watching himself sing on TV and he spotted me.

He came over to say hi, a big grin on his face.

"You didn't know I was in every band in town, did you?" he joked.

Well, clearly I hadn't known he was in this one.

Being the nosy type, I had to know how it worked to be singing in a band when you don't actually sing onstage, so I asked.

Turns out the band writes the music and then it's his job to put lyrics to it and sing it on camera.

I told him I was amazed to see him seeing in a way so unlike all the other ways I've heard him.

"It is a challenge for me," he admitted.

That said, if he hadn't told me that, I wouldn't have known it didn't come easily to him.

In between songs, the screen went to static, only to return when the sinuous Interpol-like guitars kicked up again.

By the last song, Ben's face onscreen no longer had the beard he'd had in all the other songs.

Artistic statement or unrelated razor incident? We'll never know.

During the break, a couple of friends came over, all as impressed with the band's sound as I'd been.

We agreed that it's always a treat to hear a new local band for the first time.

The headliners were Snowy Owls, a long-time favorite of mine with the talented Dave Watkins doing groovy light projections for them.

Leader Matt looked different; his hair keeps getting longer but now his beard was gone.

A hirsute trade-off, perhaps?

Announcing, "We're going to play some classic rock," the quartet began a spot-on set of shoegaze.

"Who's ready for summer?" Matt asked of the Thursday night audience before delivering three of the four new summer songs from their upcoming EP.

The shimmery, summery songs were exactly what I want the soundtrack to my summer to sound like.

If my summer turns out as good as those songs, I'm golden.

"This next one is more peppy," Matt said, bringing me out of my summer reverie and back to songs that had him shredding while his hair swung around his face.

They closed with the killer, reverb-laden track "Yr Eyes" while I stood on the banquette for one last view of these guys playing before the evening ended.

Long-time favorite band plus three new songs to herald the recently-arrived summer season equals my second satisfying musical equation of the night.

So my kind of math.

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