Having recently released their debut EP, Gravity Optional
, late last year, Long Beach band the Vespertines
have slowly developed a startling presence in the local music scene, playing KUCI music showcases and booking more solid gigs with bands like Eugene and the 1914. Sunday's gig promised another intimate look at the band as they headlined with two other eclectic, up-and-coming bands.
If there's one thing the Vespertines proved last night at Que Sera, it's that their dynamic whirlwind of prog, dub and jazz deserves a much bigger audience. Rattling off furious, eclectic jams like "Pendulum" and "Lepers and Leopards" (both currently streaming on their MySpace
) the band recalled the early, adventuresome days of No Doubt combined with jam band musical prowess and heavy-handed funk. Oh, and did we mention lead vocalist Vanessa Acosta plays trumpet like a mofo?
Backed by the effect-laden thrash of guitarist Alex Kater and bassist Kyle Cavaness and the rumbling power of drummer Chris P. Walker, Acosta definitely woke up anyone who might have been ready to call it a night. Judging by the diehard fans who stuck around, it was obvious that this band was definitely worth staying up for.
Filling out the middle of the show was the frantic garage rock band Palewailers
, which brought a surge of punk angst, smart-ass energy and a few good hooks to this sparsely-populated Sunday party. Keeping things simple with thrashing, punk drums, dissonant chords and guttural yelps, the band's sound drew heavily from '90s post-punk with a bit of old-school aggression that kept the audience interested.
Inland Empire-based rockers NightFlower
opened the show with their brand of of '90s grungy, classic rock crunch. Featuring front man Jazz Meulstee's contorted guitar riffage, Brian Fegel's nimble bass playing and Ivan Hernandez spot on drum work, the band hit the small crowd with a slightly dated sound that came with interesting shards of thrash metal and a couple catchy lyrics on "Saturday Night." It was an odd song title for a Sunday night gig, nevertheless, it's timeless, thumping rock rhythms still managed to satisfy the audience.
The Crowd: Pretty slim for the most part, mostly a conglomerate of fresh faced fans sporting warm jackets, as it was pretty damn cold inside Que Sera for some reason...could have been all the open space.
Overheard: In the middle of their textured, jazzy instrumental jam "Collapsible Spheres," someone in the audience shouted out "more trumpet!" Whoever it was definitely got what they asked for.