Colvin and Ayler
Wednesday brought three venues and four bands. Of note was Antennas Erupt at Tone Vendor: a weird, beautiful mixture of free-jazz saxophone pioneer Albert Ayler and the instrumental intensity of Godspeed You Black Emperor!—and one of the most interesting bands I’ve seen in Sacramento in a good long while. Next, a quick tour of the new Capitol Garage, which will be open by the time you read this. Gone is the grungy quality of the previous location, and in its place is a posh downtown watering hole at K and 15th streets with custom everything; even the handrails leading back to the bathrooms are custom. Local music fans will be happy to know that the sound system is also custom, and although the venue isn’t much bigger than the old location, the sightlines are 100-percent improved, and a couple of well-placed plasma TVs improve the view even more.
A quick walk across the street brought us to folk-rocker Dre’s show at the Memorial Auditorium, a show she was filming at the behest of a major label she’d rather I didn’t put in print. The show was not a disappointment: Dre has a songwriting talent that is certainly in line with the sort of roots-rock acts that major labels periodically sign (Shawn Colvin, in particular, seems a touchstone here). Her band is a bit subdued (particularly considering it’s Brent Wiggans and Jacob Chilton, the former rhythm section of Umbravox), and in part this may be because Dre’s guitar playing was simple strumming for the most part; adding an electric-guitar player to the band could create a whole new level of sonic intensity. It also could be because Dre herself seemed subdued, perhaps because of the cameraman stalking around the stage area. Regardless, the sold-out audience was all Dre’s, clapping along and bursting periodically into applause. It was a somewhat limited performance, but given the context, good stuff. More info is at www.pickdre.com.
Meanwhile, from the breakup department comes the following news: First, that Quitter has broken up, meaning that the area has lost one of its most promising acts. Winning 2004’s local-CD Sammie for its debut, Sender.Receiver, is small news compared with the band signing with Velvet Hammer and opening for the Pixies. Quitter’s Web site (www.quitterarmy.com) produces only an empty, black screen at the time of this writing, but the band’s management confirms the breakup.
Second, alt-rock band Key to Arson also disbanded just days ago, and again this has been confirmed by the band’s management. The band’s Web site (www.keytoarson.com) is still up and operating, and there’s no news of the breakup there as of this printing, so you heard it here first.
Last, Adam Varona of the Famous Celebrities tells me that Sandi Leeper has departed prog-/art-rock group Killing Buddha. Some quick calls and e-mails were sent out to Killing Buddha for corroboration, but I’ve not received a response at the time of this filing. I will note that the band’s Web site (www.killingbuddha.com) has removed all photos of Leeper, seeming to indicate that her departure is fact. More news on this as it develops.