September 15, 2010

We Presented a Night of Rock in Columbia City


Hobosexual ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

When we're booking a bill, we're usually booking with time in mind and thinking about bands that are spinning the fabric of our current fashion. But we're also thinking about those bands who are intentionally fraying the edges as well. Bands for whom the dirt that's ground into the cracks of an old leather jacket isn't a blemish, it's a requirement. The bands we hosted Friday had a whole lot of history behind their vision of rock, and holes in the elbows of their well-worn jackets.

Bellingham's Baltic Cousins are guzzling from the same bubbling cauldron of Northwest brew that their previous bands seemed to favor, but delivering the atmosphere of the creaky backwoods themselves instead of embodying the monsters who haunt them. The thick organic reverb of fiddle and a hollow body channel the deep resonance of instruments from time immemorial, making for the timbre of modern gypsy music. It was the first night of a West Coast tour for them, but they sold out of some of their merch and netted enough money to support the rest of their planned tour travel costs. So, you can tell how Baltic Cousins' set went and how the crowd reacted to them!

Hobosexual went all out for their set starting off with a solo acoustic shred lesson courtesy of Ben Harwodd before laying into the massive triple-stack of amps. The acoustic moment brought Harwood's education in composition into focus, but his theoretical prowess was quickly and easily eclipsed by his actual prowess in wielding his right-handed guitar left-handed. Each stack contributes its own texture, and in contrast to the claustrophobic tavern spaces they might usually inhabit, in a space such as the Columbia City Theater those textures have room to distinguish themselves fully. Harwood isn't hiding behind his volume, he's manipulating it like few venture to accomplish. Hobosexual brought on the soul sisters of NightTraiN as special guests, helping Harwood to realize a goal of taking his songs to the next level, and making them as grand and gargantuan as they could possibly be.

If we had any doubts that Nikki, Jason, Ryan and Jonny were full steam ahead with the Hounds of the Wild Hunt, this show was a welcome reality check. In an hour (plus an encore) of all new songs, they revealed a more focused and melodic version of themselves; still switching off on vocals, attending to the musical aspect of the presentation as much as the punk presence and energy that made the Whore Moans more than a clever pun. Instead of reverting to whats predictable, they're now seeking the elbow room to work some creativity out. This meant a less frenzied, but no less entertaining pace to their show. It meant less screaming and more singing. And it means more sweet straight rock solo's by Jonny. The band has evolved without giving too much away, matured without growing out of the Ozzy poster on the bedroom wall.

In the running for the happiest development the night were, of course, that the Hounds set of completely new songs was as strong as their previous material under the Whore Moans moniker, but also the vocal acknowledgment that the bands involved all found a new mutual respect for each other. I heard more than a few exclamations of "New Favorite Band" being thrown around, and to finish my earlier thought, this is the "x factor" we're ultimately looking for when booking a show. This "x factor" is elusive I know, but this night the three performances exceeded expectations and added up to just that. Truthfully, we could never hope for anything more.

Baltic Cousins ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Hounds of the Wild Hunt ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Baltic Cousins ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Hobosexual with Night Train ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Hobosexual ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons

Hounds of the Wild Hunt ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons

Hounds of the Wild Hunt ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth

Flickr: Sound on the Sound Presents Hounds of the Wild Hunt, Hobosexual, Baltic Cousins at the Columbia City Theater


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