The Best of The New Two — More Than Just a Rhyming Name
Land of Pines ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
When you name an event, especially something as grand as the promise of presenting “the best of the new,” you always worry that’ll only be just a name. But when it comes to The Collective’s quarterly free music showcase highlighting some of the best up-and-coming bands from the Pacific Northwest, we’re happy to say its much more than a name. It’s a promise we’ve been able to keep.
Our first Collective showcase in October featured Lemolo, Bryan John Appleby, Youth Rescue Mission, Elk and Boar, Kimo Muraki and Luke Stevens. Names you’ve been hearing a lot more about since the show and will continue to in 2011. For the second Collective showcase we narrowed it down to one band per Collective member and a one band we all agreed upon: Land of Pines, Rockwell, Powers, Dyslexic and the Solvents.
Just as it was for much of the audience, this was a night of new music for us. We’d only ever seen the Solvents once and that was four years ago at the Blue Moon. And just as we hope will happen for folks who come out to these showcases, we definitely found some new favorite local bands. Every single band this night proved on stage they were deserving of the label “the best of the new.”
More about The Collective’s Best of the New II
We’d loved Land of Pines debut EP and even told you about it here on Sound on the Sound, but hadn’t seen the band live before the Best of the New and all there really is to say is WOW. Testing just how loud the sound system at Columbia City Theater could go, Land of Pines delivered a blistering set of hard driving, emotive indie rock with a deft professionalism that belies their young age. Its been years since we were so utterly blown away by a young local rock band–the last two that come to mind having impressed me half as much are The Globes and The Lonely Forest–two local bands I think we can agree are doing pretty well for themselves. You can see Land of Pines next as contestants in SoundOff! EMP’s annual competition for the best young local bands later this February and we certainly don’t envy any of the bands competing against them.
Up next was Tacoma’s Rockwell Powers, whose valiant (and successful) attempts to win over a crowd that had just rocked the fuck out reminded me of my introduction to Macklemore four years ago as he opened for Cursive. Powers, sensing this might not be his crowd, took his show off the stage and into the audience, corralling a circle of fans around him who gladly followed his every command, hands up, heads nodding, inching closer and closer to him with every beat. Backed by DJ and drummer, Powers’ conscious rhymes and unexpected samples (Simon & Garfunkel? Yes please!), as well as his high energy, perpetually positive performance made a new fan in me. And clearly I wasn’t alone. When Powers stepped to the edge of the stage and performed a capella, no beats, no drums, barely a mic, you could’ve heard a pin drop, the audience hung on every word.
As evidenced by the packed 15 feet closest to the stage, it was Dyslexic who brought the biggest crowd to the show. Backed by a full band, including horns and violin and a personality big enough to fill Columbia City Theater’s high ceilings, Dyslexic was truly the Master of Ceremonies. Like Mix-A-Lot before him Dyslexic seems to have that way about him so that wherever he is, a party is always on the verge of materializing. Able to set aside any alpha-dog-with-a-spiked-collar posing, Dyslexic self-deprecates as much as jokes about others, making him the ideal amiable MC to liven up any (not too uptight) get-together. Northwestafillia? Northwestafillia.
Last, but not least were Port Townsend’s Solvents, who handled a diminished crowd like pros. The Solvents specialize in moody, surprisingly heavy folk songs, that when performed live feel as much punk-rock as singer-songwriter. For those who stuck around late for them, the Solvents gave their all and put on a real show. Focusing mostly on their new release Forgive Yr. Blood with a couple tunes off an old Sound on the Sound favorite Manresa Castle, the Solvents left their hearts and a gallon of sweat on the stage. When a band works that hard on stage and even the violin shreds, its really tough to call it folk at all.
Land of Pines face-off in semifinal #3 of the EMP SoundOff! underage battle of the bands Saturday February 26th in the EMP SkyChurch. Solvents return to Seattle this Tuesday February 8th at the High Dive.
Dyslexic ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Rockwell Powers ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Land of Pines ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Solvents ::: photo by Josh Lovseth