Sound Advice: The time trippers

Soul of garage: Something very strange happened on the evening of March 18. I felt totally nostalgic for a time period I can’t quite place, and that I definitely wasn’t alive for.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based, seven-piece the Ballantynes transported The Press Club somewhere, though. The place was packed, and the crowd jumped around uncontrollably to a mix of ’60s soul, gospel and garage rock.

Bandleader Jarrod Odell dramatically hunched over his Hammond organ as two drummers banged away. Singers Vanessa Dandurand and Jennifer Wilks brought the sweet soul—and tambourine-shaking—to counter Odell’s impossibly vintage voice. All together, plus guitar and bass, and the Ballantynes easily filled the room with a crazy, infectious energy that felt absolutely nothing like Sacramento on a Tuesday in 2014.

The band’s debut EP, Liquor Store Gun Store Pawn Shop Church, is a time-trip on its own, with six bounceworthy, analog-sounding tunes. And with it, the Ballantynes are getting some well-deserved press. Vancouver Weekly placed the band in its “Best of Vancouver Music 2013” feature, and The Huffington Post ranked the EP fifth on a list of that year’s best indie releases. It streams for free at, and if the track “No Love” doesn’t win you over, there will probably be no love between us either.


Brotherly love: The theme of the evening could have been the sibling connection—between the two main acts, there were three sets of brothers. It could have also been the whole growing-up thing—I went to high school with the supporting act, and I still can’t believe they’re beyond playing talent shows.

Finish Ticket looks like your standard Bay Area hipster indie band, capable of making any 15-year-old girl swoon. Perhaps the 15-year-old girl comment isn’t entirely fair. According to the band’s guitarist, the Strokes recently complimented Finish Ticket’s good looks at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The Strokes.

Anyway, most of the audience Friday night at Assembly Music Hall seemed to be there for Finish Ticket. Plenty of fans were waving their arms in the air and singing along to the band’s melodious, hook-laden pop rock. The band recently signed with Atlantic Records, so big things are expected very soon. Hopefully a major, serious label doesn’t mean Finish Ticket’s members have to stop wearing penguin-patterned onesies.

Up-and-coming grit-pop trio the Kin headlined the show. It was a little tough to take the band seriously when its members were dressed so intentionally cool—sleeveless jean vest, leather jacket, miniponytails, glitter. The striking Australian brothers alternated vocals, keyboard and guitar, while its Brooklynite drummer elected to play stickless. Despite any technical finesse, the stage felt too big for just three people—especially after seeing Finish Ticket’s six spread across it.

The whole atmosphere changed when the Kin abandoned the stage and told the crowd to form a circle. “This is a robbery!” one brother shouted, as the Kin effectively musical-robbed its own concert.

They took fans by the hand to twirl them in circles. They spoke with silly irreverence and made inside jokes. The drummer pounded on an equipment case on wheels, rolling it in circles and creating textural beats with a set of keys. And the brothers took turns jumping on said case.

For four songs, we all felt part of a good friend’s intimate jam session, at once in awe and in a giggle fit. And later—either to remind everyone that the Aussie brothers are indeed Aussies, or as a statement that the Aussie brothers will indeed act young and silly forever—the Kin pulled out a didgeridoo.


Blame it on Foreigner: Sacramento singer-songwriter Jeremy Briggs earned a spot on Team Shakira on The Voice with his rendition of Bad Company’s “Bad Company,” but his network ride made its last stop (for now) on March 18.

Briggs squared off against fellow teammate Clarissa Serna during the Battle Round. The pair sang Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice,” which is never really a good idea, but I’m guessing they didn’t have much a choice in the song selection.

The judges were split on the performances, but ultimately it was Shakira’s decision, and she sent Briggs home.

But, whatever, because even as Briggs was kicked to the network-TV curb, he also announced a headlining gig on Saturday, May 24, at Harlow’s Nightclub & Restaurant (2708 J Street). Tickets are $15-$20.

Pretty sure Briggs will be just fine without all that reality-TV singing-show hoopla. Congrats on a good run, and here’s to better things.