Closed garages and giant cephalopods

Giant Squid

Giant Squid

By the time you read this, the Capitol Garage will have closed its doors, at least at its current location. With the high-rise building spree going on around the Capitol, it seemed only a matter of time before the meager (by Paragary standards) coffeehouse and live-music venue closed its doors (in fact, it’s something that this paper’s arts editor predicted many years ago). How can a little coffeehouse compete with the mega cash of large-scale developers and big-dollar restaurateurs?

Rest assured that the Capitol Garage will be reopening, but music and caffeine fans will have to wait until late September and then travel to the bottom floor of a parking garage at K and 15th streets to find it. It will be an all-new venue, custom-designed specifically for live music. Furthermore, the Garage’s booker, Anodyne Entertainment’s Charles Twilling, plans to reorganize the venue’s events, featuring a Tuesday open-mic hosted by local singer-songwriter Steven Chance. Wednesday and Thursday will be devoted to DJ-spun music from the Decibel Devils and DJ Sean Slaughter, Friday and Saturday will feature live music, and Sunday is being held open for a Sounds of Sacramento tie-in with KWOD (the featured Sounds of Sacramento band for each week will play a Sunday show at the Garage).

To commemorate closing its old doors, the Garage featured a trio of superb shows last weekend, including performances by Living Argentine, Singe, Quitter, the Helper Monkeys, the Secretions, Ashtray, F-Bombs, Revelry, Tera Melos and last Thursday night’s headliner, Giant Squid.

Giant Squid provides an interesting opportunity for reflection on much local music in that it embraces a romantic and dramatic approach, yet it somehow manages to deliver its emotional objective without tipping the sails into the water. This is an important point because very few bands are able to accomplish this tightrope act; playing a stadium-sized show in a postage-stamp-sized venue often just makes a mockery of both the band and the venue. Giant Squid, though, somehow pulls it off.

Part of the key might be in the band’s influences, which include both Swans and Neurosis (it used Billy Anderson, who has worked with both bands, to engineer and produce its debut album). Like these bands, Giant Squid presents a huge dynamic range, one closely mirrored in Neurosis’ most recent releases, especially the brand-new (and very good) The Eye of Every Storm and the interesting self-titled Neurosis/Jarboe (of Swans) collaboration.

This is not to say that Giant Squid is a Neurosis rip-off by any means. For one, it dispenses with the cookie-monster vocals that tend to derail much of Neurosis’ music, instead centering on a melodic vocal approach by Aaron Gregory that helps keep the music from flopping into a sea of cheesy teenage turmoil. The occasional vocals by second guitarist (and Gregory’s wife) Aurielle Zeitler—one of the relatively few women on the local rock scene—give it an occasional soft edge, at least until she starts screaming (it’s something like watching a sexy librarian go through primal-scream therapy). Check out for more information.

Meanwhile, watch this column for news about the new Capitol Garage or check out the newly designed for updates.