Sonic samadhi

Satori, Bear Hunter and Holiday in Spain

LaSalles, Wed., Sept. 8
The crowd at LaSalles last Wednesday was small but energetic as three bands delivered an eclectic mix of styles.

Opening was Holiday in Spain, a trio from Sacramento that reminded me a lot of early Nirvana. Holiday had a big sound centered on heavy, bass-driven power chords, with lots of feedback. “East of Eden” was particularly good with its (unintentional?) tribute line to the late Cobain: “Take this needle out/ stick it in your vein.” If that isn’t grunge, what is?

Next was Chico’s Bear Hunter, featuring locals Clint Bear, Nick Hunter and Maurice Spencer. My familiarity with some of their other projects (most notably as the excellent Angry Inch band for the Blue Room’s production of Hedwig) set me up to anticipate a tight set.

Spencer led a fascinating set of songs using effects pedals and climbing vines of interwoven melody to create a gorgeous cacophony. The set ran the gamut, going from Lennon-esque acid trip rock, then unexpectedly taking off with metal riffs and ringing bell tones—all out of a couple of guitars and a drum set.

Chico’s Satori was up next, and the crowd gave a hero’s welcome to these four guys with the clean, fast, edgy, punk-rock sound.

Most of their stuff was their own, although they rocked a cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” and completely brought the house down with a faux-reluctant encore that was hilarious: The four started to leave the stage, then, goaded by their fans, did a quick game of musical chairs, switching instruments before proceeding to break into a fantastic cover of “Thing Called Love,” by The Darkness, complete with pitch-perfect upper-register vocals.

Too bad more people didn’t come out to take advantage of three hours of diverse, fun music, and for a measly five bucks.