Touch me with your deep bass
“He’s a good man. And thorough.”
No, not The Big Lebowski. I’m reminiscing about the exhaustive, perhaps gratuitous security check at Blush Ultra Lounge, the latest nightclub at the revolving-door, former K-Bar location at 12th and K streets. The process goes like this: Security guy invites you one at a time into a roped-off area, asks you to remove everything from your pockets except your wallet, then directs you to place said items atop a barstool. Next, spread your legs, raise your arms. Finally, security guy gives a pat-down that rivals any other inspection I’ve experienced. Seriously, I wouldn’t be shocked if it turned out the club was data mining for the Men’s Wearhouse.
At least we now know how Blush got its name.
Anyway, maybe security was beefed-up because of the early-Sunday-morning shooting at nearby Avalon Nightclub? No matter, inside, the sound system, too, made you glow. But in a good way: Jae Synth and DJ Whores bumped dubstep through a killer system. Local emcee Skurge, sporting a red A’s ball cap, joined the deejays on a couple of tracks in front of a sparse crowd. Out on the relaxing patio, a complimentary hookah and good people watching helped pass the time, Esquire IMAX’s neon casting an odd shine over the club.
Blush’s dubstep Sunday was the latest incarnation of Jae Synth’s Concrete Jungle series. And the club is a good venue for awesome-sounding bass and beats. I’ll be back if they do another night like this. And I’ll have security measure my inseam while they’re at it. (Nick Miller)
Clydesdales of indie rock:
For the most part, it seems that the plaid-shirt-donning, beard-sporting, trucker-hat-wearing hipster look has come and gone. That is, until you step into a concert hall filled with of Band of Horses fans. Still, no one pulls off the look as effortlessly as Benjamin Bridwell, the swoonworthy South Carolinian at the helm of BoH. For Bridwell, the look remains refreshingly intact, as does the soulful brand of rock, indie and Americana the band has become known for.
Last Thursday, after two months on the road touring in support of their latest offering, Infinite Arms, Bridwell and the rest of the Horses took the stage UC Davis’ Freeborn Hall. Armed with his molasses-coated vocals, Bridwell and his crew soared through a remarkable set, including “The Great Salt Lake,” “Ode to LRC,” “Factory” and a cover of the Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait.”
During the undeniable crowd pleaser “The Funeral,” Bridwell lost his mark, halting midway and joking that he’d forgotten the song. The hiccup didn’t seem to phase the BoH fans, which, if anything, appeared to be rejuvenated by the pause. Before long, Bridwell was back on track and the band was railing through the song.
Before launching into “Wicked Gil,” Bridwell remarked that it was the first time during the course of the tour that they had played the song—which infused the audience with a sense of honor, as if they alone were worthy of hearing it performed live.
As much as Bridwell’s vocals make me weak in the knees, for me, the highlight of the show arrived when keyboardist Ryan Monroe took the lead vocals on “Older,” a leisurely paced, twang-infused track off the new album. Bridwell’s vocals took a back seat, chiming in only as Monroe launched into the song’s chorus: “And after all my plans / They melt into the sand / Yeah you will be there on my mind through all / Don’t want to understand why you never get older.” Monroe and Bridwell’s vocal harmonies are truly a force to be reckoned with.
After a brief break, BoH returned to the stage to deliver a four-song encore that included the heart-wrenching “No One’s Going to Love You.” One fan could hardly contain her self, swaying and doubling over in pleasure (or was it pain?) as she belted out, “When things start splitting at the seams and now / the whole thing’s tumbling down.” I found myself simultaneously fearing and envying her unabashed fervor.
The band closed with an impassioned rendition of Them Two’s soulful track “Am I a Good Man.” A group of men near me draped their arms over each other’s shoulders as they sang along—clearly picking up what Bridwell was putting down. All in all, the BoH put on an inspired show, and most fans seemed pleased with the performance. As for me, I swung by the merch table and purchased Infinite Arms—since then, it’s been in constant rotation. (Erin Sierchio)