School of Language at Nectar, Seattle | 19 March 2008
So I’m in line at the bar to get a beer just before School of Language is ready to hit the stage. The guy in front of me orders an IPA. I ask the bartender what kind of IPA it is he’s got on tap, he replies Redhook. So I order a Guinness. The guy who ordered the IPA looks at me and says, what are you saying about my beer choice? I have been accused of being a beer snob among other things. Redhook IPA is ok, but Guinness wins hands down in that competition. So the guy that ordered the inferior IPA walks on stage and picks up his bass. Turns out it was David Stubbs who I was giving a hard time about his beer selection.
I certainly would not give David Brewis of School of Language a hard time about his choice of musicians he’s chosen to play his songs on tour. The afore mentioned David Grubbs of Gastr del Sol, and Squirrel Bait playing bass and Ryan Rapsys of Ambulette and Euphone on drums are his rhythm section. Having given up Field Music last year, the band he was in with his brother Peter, Brewis was first out of the gate with his one man School of Language project. Like the album, the live show was bookended by Rockist, the four part song that features a looped recording of Brewis repeating a Cornelius-esque ahh-ee-oo-ahh.
Playing to a sparsely populated Nectar, the show kind of felt like we were guests in their practice space. The atmosphere was laid back with Brewis getting a little sympathy for being under the weather, and the band sounding practiced and loose. Grubb’s bass had some great fuzzy effects going on, while Rapsys drumming made the songs really pop, much more than they do on the record. Brewis guitar playing was pretty cracking, he really get’s a great sound that has elements of XTC, but at the same time a warmth that reminds me of Eric Mathews.
They played most of Sea from Shore and threw in a cover of Roxy Music’s If There is Something. The band didn’t seem to mind playing to so few people. Maybe they could tell that, I like most people there was excited and stoked that Brewis brought his School of Language all the way from Sunderland to Seattle, especially since Field Music never made it out to the Pacific Northwest.