Another farewell: For Joe Kye’s goodbye gig at Beatnik Studios last week, the indie-pop violinist delivered a massive, heartfelt blowout. In a word? Triumphant.
It was a testament to what someone can build from scratch in Sacramento in three short years: the beginning of what’s sure to be a long music career, with a devoted fan base and impressive collaborations that cross mediums. Kye led his band through a strong, one-hour set featuring both original material as well as playful covers, such as “I Will Survive.” But the most powerful individual performance was also the most unexpected: an emotionally stirring, chaotically beautiful rendition of German composer Nils Frahm’s “Says.” The audience was as enthusiastic and attentive as I’ve ever seen at a locals-only show.
The second set showcased projection art, which translated Kye’s dynamic sounds into visual art; a bold, dramatic piece by CORE Contemporary Dance, which was unfortunately difficult to fully appreciate if you weren’t in the front row due to the lack of stage; a visit back to Kye’s a cappella roots; and, for the finale, a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” accompanied by 10 other local musicians including James Cavern, Josh Kräge (the Pressure Lounge) and Josh Cambridge (City of Trees Brass Band).
As Kye sang his last note surrounded by his community, he looked like a man who truly found himself in Sacramento. This is home now, and he’ll be back.
Beats and baritone: I felt keenly aware of the woman in front of me, bobbing along unobtrusively with her curly gray locks. She must have been in her late 60s or early 70s, and I most definitely did not want to knock her over. But it’s challenging not to jump wildly and lose yourself in the strobe lights at a Caravan Palace show, which made me all the more impressed with the age range last week when the Parisian band swung through Oakland.
Key word: swung. There was over-the-top swing dancing on and offstage to the seven-piece pioneer of electro-swing, the genre that fuses gypsy jazz with electronic dance music.
Despite the complexity of the music, Caravan Palace approaches its shows with a tongue-in-cheek, all-for-fun attitude: dueling clarinet and violin, skat battles, multiple costume changes, straight dirty baritone sax lines. The energy? Insane. The charisma? Almost cartoon-ish in its over-the-top engagement. All the while, traditional jazz influences seeped through, like a single spotlight illuminating an epic vibraphone solo or the guitarist commanding the crowd to not clap but snap along.
At the end, drenched in sweat, the party-makers invited furries to dance onstage, took photos and thanked California, in particular, for being early supporters of its unique sound.
“You’ve been so cool,” said vocalist Zoé Colotis. Hella cool.
Big names: Pitchfork dropped some rad local news last week, though I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t notice based on the headline: “Death Grips produce EP for LCD Soundsystem’s Tyler Pope’s label.”
While technically accurate, and while technically Sacramento-centric given its lead with Death Grips, the headline doesn’t actually mention the band behind said EP. It’s Drug Apts. Congratulations, Drug Apts.!
You may have seen Drug Apts. play around town at underground venues over the past few months, originally under the taco-loving name Gymboyz. Among the grungy, frenetic, post-punk band’s esteemed members are vocalist Whittney Kebsehull and drummer Michael Thiemann. Yes, that Thiemann, chef-owner of Mother and Empress Tavern.
Look for the band’s debut in September, and get an early listen to a couple of tracks on Interference Patterns Records’ Soundcloud. Their next gig takes place Monday, June 27, at the Red Museum (212 15th Street).
Don’t forget: The second annual First Festival takes place Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19, with more than 40 local acts spread across multiple stages at Southside Park. It’s a diverse lineup, with an emphasis on rock of all kinds. Headliners include Epsilona, Tell the Wolves, Death of Reason and Drop Dead Red. Advance, full-festival passes cost $60, or you can pay $35 cash at the gate per day. More at www.firstfestivalsacramento.com.