About last weekend
Back, for now: Dreaded Diamond, a brother-sister duo with Tyler and Juliana Lydell, rocked Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub at their EP release show Friday, July 17. Good news: Youngling, the band’s new album, is all that fans could hope for and more.
On record, dreamy melodic lines are juxtaposed with just enough math to be surprising. The delicate mix of time signatures keeps the music engaging without making it too difficult to be accessible.
It’s been four years since the band’s last album, Healthy Fears. During that time, the group seemed dormant, if not dead, until its Facebook page lit up with talk of a new album and concert.
“This is a thing that we decided to do less than a month ago,” said Juliana Lydell, Dreaded Diamond’s lead vocalist and keyboardist. “It was very out-of-nowhere. We’re both moving in August, and we were like, ’You know, we should do an EP.’”
Not surprisingly, when Dreaded Diamond finally hit the stage again, the crowd went nuts. On this night, the Lydells were backed up by a huge band—the latter of which provided an accompanying huge sound.
“We had some very talented friends on board,” said Juliana. Keys, guitars, bass, violin and trumpet were along for the ride, and all managed to convey the intricacies of the music perfectly. Unexpected stops and starts thanks to the band’s distinctive and unusual time signatures make for tricky playing, but the band never missed a note.
The group played all the songs on the new EP and closed out the show by jamming on “Death by Fugu” off their last album. They also threw in a cover, Pedro the Lion’s “Magazine.” Audience cheers and a sing-along ensued.
Dreaded Diamond will soon go on hiatus again. School is on the horizon for both siblings come fall, according to Juliana. “I’m going to UC San Diego and my brother’s going to Nashville,” she said. Still, there are plans for a concert next summer.
And will they be playing Sacramento? Juliana says, “Definitely.”
Louder, better, sweatier: Three years ago the psych-garage band Drive-Thru Mystics played its first show at Shine in front of five people, lead singer Aaron Hutto recalled while on stage during the band’s three year anniversary show at the Hideaway Bar & Grill last Saturday, July 18. At that first gig, the band was asked to turn down several times, and they never played there again, he added with a chuckle.
Things went much better for the quartet this time, as it played at full volume in front of nearly 70 eager fans. The set was concise, with tunes spanning everything from the band’s more straight-forward sing-along pop-rock songs to its spacier, psychedelic jams. They kept the energy level high the whole set with their driving ’60s-inspired organ, as Hutto and bassist Dave Adams bounced around the stage, totally drenched in sweat.
Openers San Kazakgascar brought an entirely different vibe to the evening. They strike a balance between ’90s alt-rock and Middle Eastern music. The music is entirely instrumental, highlighted by alto sax player Tony Passarell’s mind-blowing avant-jazz solos. When he wasn’t playing the horn, Passarell had a grab bag of exotic percussion at his disposal.
The group’s instrumental sound, guitarist Jed Brewer explained, is part of its new direction. They’ve played together for nearly a decade, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that they dropped the singing to focus more on the grooves. The new direction suits them well. They have an incredible range. The slower songs are trance-inducing. Their heavier songs produce an uneasy, dissonant sensation. There’s even a little funky art-rock in the mix.
Scouse Gits closed out the evening. The five-piece retro-rockers’ music is clearly influenced by Chuck Berry, but at about twice the speed. Their chops were spot on and as punk rock as you get—their drummer in particular fueled this energy, but it would have been nice to see the rest of band leaping around with this same intensity, as they stayed mostly still while cranking out high-octane garage tunes.
In between bands, Tim Matranga, co-owner of the new store Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage, spun vintage garage-rock and soul tunes from his personal vinyl collection—and what a collection it is. Lucky crowd, he even had tapes and records for sale courtesy of Reno’s Spectre Records.