June 21, 2010

Bitch!?! Where’s the After Party At?: Farewell to Thunderheist


Thunderheist @ Chop Suey

Thunderheist ::: photo courtesy of Noise for the Needy

Let me let you in on a dirty little secret. I live in a cave. Underneath stalactites and stalagmites, adjacent to the bones of pirates who failed to find buried treasure, in a place where light does not know; this is what I call home. My interior designer is a troglobiont.

I didn’t know that Thunderheist’s last show before going on hiatus was going to be at Chop Suey until the night before the event.  My reasoning is the metaphor aforementioned. For a group that was around for a relatively brief amount of time, they burned quite brightly and did well for themselves.  “Jerk It” got featured on the soundtrack to a Mickey Rourke movie. How many of you can say that? Well, unless Xzibit and Vincent Gallo are Sound on the Sound readers (and undoubtedly they are), I don’t see many of you raising your hands. I have had the utmost pleasure of seeing Thunderheist twice at Chop Suey during the past seven months. The first show was great, but this one was even better. This was a celebration, not a moratorium.  Elbows were being thrown on the dance floor, flashbulbs felt up the room, copious amounts of red bull was drank, on-stage tequila shots inspired Isis to crowd surf, even Grahm Zilla got groped a bit as he made his way through the crowdon some songs. It was dope. I even found myself doing the hand gestures to “LBG” (Little Booty Girl) and I can’t even relate to that song in the biological sense.

Nobody gave a shit. Everyone was having fun. How often does that happen these days? I want to thank Noise for the Needy for the Needy for putting together so many great bills. I want to thank Thunderheist for all that they’ve done. Their export of freshly squeezed, just chilled, dance infected hip-hop with a double shot of swagger was delicious. They’ve made the world a better place and I hope to see them again soon.

In the meantime: Check out Isis Salam’s (frontwoman of Thunderheist) and Grahmzilla’s (the beats of Thunderheist) homepages for information on side projects.

December 3, 2009

Soldiers of the Discotheque: Thunderheist and Winter Gloves at Chop Suey



Thunderheist ::: photo courtesy of Big Dada

In the literal sense, it’s easy to go from a hellacious bill at Neumo’s one night, to a hip swiveling boogiefest the following night at Chop Suey, because both venues are fairly close to one another. In the metaphorical sense, I can’t say the transition is as easy. It’s like comparing your first summer crush to a dessert that your mother makes really well. Sure, both conjure pleasant emotions but you don’t want to confuse hormones with your mother’s apple bavarian tort. Just like I didn’t want to confuse the feelings I felt listening to Winter Gloves and Thunderheist after being reduced to an ungrateful pygmy goat at the hands of Helms Alee, Young Widows and Russian Circles. You can’t go to a dance party preparing to be slaughtered. You have to enter with a smile, not a scowl. A grey menace owns this town but the people of this city sure do love their sunny dance music.        So when I entered Chop Suey that Thursday night, I was a bit shocked that it wasn’t packed like sardines in a tin can. The stage was empty but so was the bar for the most part. This is something I didn’t expect at all. Luckily this awkward scene didn’t last long, Winter Gloves took the stage within minutes of my arrival. I wonder if people were waiting on a sound check because when Winter Gloves started their first song “Invisible” (irony alert!), the only person standing up front was a photographer. It had to be one of the loneliest beginnings to a decent set that I’ve ever seen. And you wouldn’t think that would be the case because this same sequence has played out for every single musician on the entire planet. I’m going to blame it on the lighting. Once the music started, the floor quickly filled up with people who favored horizontal body movements. Right foot tapping in unison. Soldiers of the discotheque. Ladies and gentleman, this is why you start a set out with a really strong song, it creates interest. Any interest that isn’t of the financial realm is good. When Winter Gloves become huge, they’ll be able to come out and play Kidz Bop songs if they choose to. 

I also want to to point out the really awesome moustaches that everyone in this band sports. It was incredible. Like I stated during the show preview, these are good looking lads who are going to cause your significant other to swoon excessively right before your very eyes. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Combine their sweet moustaches, with the fact that they are Canadian and musicians, you have no chance. I’m glad my girlfriend had prior engagements, I might have been publicly cuckold. Embarrassing.

Besides the moustaches, there were other great moments, like when Winter Gloves drummer Patrick Sayers gave a handful Cd’s to the people in the front . I always appreciate the spirit of giving. It was weird because I moved forward to get one and then caught myself thinking “Dude, what am I going to do, blast this from my car stereo on a sunny day? Yeah right. You know who you are, you’d only like this after a couple of drinks. You don’t drink and drive, remember? Wait, are you into stuff that I don’t know about….?” I retreated and let a young woman get the last CD. The songs “Party People” and “About a Girl” sounded especially good. Lots of “Oooo Uh-Oh!” loaded with sauciness. Every time I order coffee, I think I’m going to go into that brief, ultra catchy vocal refrain. Especially when I throw my scalding cup of coffee on the unexpected Chika Latte barista because it’s not 140 degrees exactly. She didn’t know I had a thermometer in my car. Oooo Uh-Oh! And let me say that’s it’s ALWAYS a bad idea to name a song after a really popular song by a really popular artist. You’re setting yourself up. People are going to think it’s a cover initially, then when they find out it’s not, they are going to compare it to the more popular song that has no similarity other than the title. And when I say “people” are making these comparisons, I’m really talking about me.

Lead singer Charles F. made a comment that the band hadn’t been in Seattle in a few years, and that the last time they were here they played in a venue far removed from the city. One of the audience members then chirped out “You played in Ballard!” and I gave a hearty chuckle. I think half of the city thinks of Ballard as far removed from the city. That’s a shame. Ballard does a body good. Winter Gloves do a body good as well. I wouldn’t mind having them back in Seattle in the slightest. Ooooo Uh-Oh!

Headliners Thunderheist came on stage to cheers and a healthy buzz swirling around in the audience. Winter Gloves were good but clearly this is the band the proletariat came to see. Before this show, I’d only heard a couple of their tracks and seen the “Jerk It” video. Any song that recalls one of my favorite teenage hobbies is going to catch my attention. And while “Jerk It” has a fun video and is a catchy tune, it’s nothing like the beast that is “LBG.” Good gracious it’s alive! The delivery, eh eh eh, gets stuck in your head all day, youngin’ there is no escape, it’s the way Isis behaves. Little Booty Girl. The songs reminds me of so many songs (Outkast’s “Synthesizer” for some of the initial rhythm and chimes, the general idea behind T.I.’s “Rubberband Man” and the goofy yet “I’m calling the shots, asshole” vibe of Kelis’ “Bossy”). I’m really surprised that “LBG” isn’t a mega hit. It’s everything you could ask for in a single.

Frontwoman Isis didn’t just kill the crowd with infectious vocal hooks, between songs she did massage male audience members egos. On a couple of occasions she complimented the city of Seattle on it’s good looking dudes. Mmmm…sexual tension on a large scale. Isn’t that what Thunderheist is all about? Creating the soundtrack to undressing sexy strangers on city sidewalks? Because I suffer from extreme delusions of grandeur I took Isis statement to mean that she was talking about only me. It wasn’t until I started writing this review that I realized that I’m not the only male in the city. Bummer. But on a serious note, I want to say that Seattle is a city full of attractive people. Especially considering how nontropical the weather is, people really try to keep themselves looking good around these parts. It’s just that nobody talks to one another. Bummer. 

Banter. Sexual tension. Danceable beats. I only found one negative during the Thunderheist set. I felt that the keys were too low in the P.A. at times. I can’t blame that on them, isn’t that what “sound guys” are for? Songs like “Nothing 2 Step 2″ and “Sweet 16″ along with the aforementioned would-be mega hits made this slight mishap easy to overlook.   If you missed Thunderheist and Winter Gloves, hopefully you won’t have to wait a couple years to catch them in the “middle of nowhere” (Ballard) or travel to the most underrated big city on the East Coast (Montreal). Even though Seattle is comically known for unenthusiastic audiences, on this night at Chop Suey, I’d like to think we made a lasting  impression on these two Montreal-based acts. Hopefully the Emerald City will be a priority on any future West Coast tours by Thunderheist or Winter Gloves.

November 19, 2009

Thunderheist and Winter Gloves at Chop Suey Tonight



Everyone on the West Coast is all “New York this and the Big Apple that…”

Everyone on the Internet is all “Brooklyn this and pop music that…”

Who gives a fuck about New York. I’ll take Montreal over The City That Never Sleeps just about any day of the week. I’m not just saying that because my parents decided to make sweet love after a Montreal Canadians game in order to bring yours truly into the world. And I’m not just saying that because super cool Montreal acts Thunderheist and Winter Gloves are taking over Chop Suey on Thursday night. You take a walk down St. Catherine’s Street on a night in July and tell me that you don’t agree.

With that being said, Thursday night’s musical performers aren’t really my thing. Keyboard driven dance pop usually gives me ulcers. I’d rather go swimming with a plethora of jellyfish in a baby pool than listen to Postal Service. The overly optimistic blips and programmed drums are cute, but I’m not into robot fuck music. And as much as I bash a genre that has never really grown on me, I expect Thursday night at Chop Suey to be ridiculously fun. This is one of those shows that you’re going to regret missing if you do. Winter Gloves play music that will cause your girlfriend to get guest listed. Sorry, she’s leaving you for the band. Thunderheist’s name means that they literally steal your thunder and there isn’t shit you can do about it. Don’t say you weren’t forewarned. You better get down with the get down.