Tags: Field Music, School of Language, Seattle, The Crocodile, Week Of Wonders
Field Music at the Crocodile, Seattle | 29 March 2016
After six albums Sunderland, England’s Field Music finally made their Seattle debut Tuesday night at the Crocodile (though David Brewis played the Nectar Lounge back in 2008 with his School of Language). The band are often compared to XTC and Steely Dan, and could be accused of being a musician’s band. Meaning that you need to be a musician to appreciate them, and to be honest as I looked around the room that night it looked like I might be a minor and younger music nerd compared with many in the crowd. So this show was a long time coming for many Field Music fans, but well worth the wait
The Brewis brothers are supporting their latest and possibly best album yet Commontime which contains a new lightness of being that gives a new dimension to the band. They sound like they’re having more fun and of course there’s the added funk element. How much funk you ask, well Prince is a fan and the brothers have admitted to looking to both Beyoncé and Hall and Oats for inspiration. That was evident right from the start as the band blasted into the Noisy Days Are Over with its looping base. It was obvious that Field Music were here to have fun. It featured Peter on guitar and vocals and his brother David on drums. They would take turns on guitar and drums throughout the night. I kept changing my mind about which was the better drummer and which the better guitarist. Both of them seemed to in a jovial mood with lots of banter between songs and encouraging of hecklers. At one point they were invited to karaoke after the show, but declined saying they only did Michael Jackson BAD at karaoke.
Other highlights in the set included Disappointed and It’s a Good Thing from Commontime, Let’s Write a Book from Measure, If Only The Moon Were Up from their debut, and A House Is Not a Home from Tones of Town. It was a perfect combination of old and new in front of a truly appreciative audience. One of the best shows of the year to accompany one of its best albums.
The Quietus has an insightful interview with the Brewis brothers.
The setlist from the show:
The Noisy Days Are Over
Let’s Write A Book
Don’t You Want To Know What’s Wrong?
A House Is Not A Home
It’s A Good Thing
Who’ll Pay the Bills?
Them That Do Nothing
If Only The Moon Were Up
How Many More Times?
Just Like Everyone Else
(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing
Give It Lose It Take It
Tags: A Frames, Castle Face, Chop Suey, Field Music, High Llamas, Male Gaze, Mt. St. Mtn., Seattle, The Tiaras, Trashcan Sinatras
Male Gaze are a group of males made up of former members of other bands: Matt Jones and Adam Finken of Blasted Canyons, Mark Kaiser from Mayyors, and Adam Cimino from The Mall. Jones who sings, plays guitar and runs Castle Face records along with John Dwyer doesn’t have much range in his vocals, but he uses this limitation to good effect. He keeps his dark monotone in the strictly gothic range, while Kaiser’s bass and Cimino drums lay down a pummeling foundation to build up intense, apocalyptic, paranoia songs.
The Male Gaze debut album only came out this week, so maybe that explains why this show was so sparsely attended, or perhaps it was the 70 degree weather causing a bout of spring fever. Too bad for the rest of Seattle I guess, especially those in the population who like the post punk desolation akin to our very own A-Frames. The newly revamped Chop Suey was still sparkling, not yet defiled by rock n’ roll debauchery. The stage even has a red velvet curtain that closes between bands, lending to a sense of drama to each set. The rhythm section was unreal and didn’t really need an curtain to create a sense of drama. Their lights-out playing was the highlight of the night and they made it look way too easy. Songs like Cliffs of Madness, The Shining Paths and Bridge and Tunnel Vision are dark pop masterpieces that ravaged live. Impressive, and my admiration for the band increased knowing that they can bring this sort of intensity even when playing to 20 people.
Tour mates the Tiaras share a guitarist in Adam Finken and feature former Ganglians Ryan Grubbs and Kyle Hoover. Their self-titled debut album came out earlier this year on Mt. St. Mtn. It’s probably not what you would expect if you remember the lo-fi stoner rock of the Ganglians. The Tiaras are all shimmering pop with a few angles in the vein of Field Music, High Llamas, and the Trashcan Sinatras. Their lush stylized pop is sometimes hard to translate into a live setting. At first I thought that they sounded much too murky, but when lead guitarist Kyle Hoover switched from his twelve string guitar to his trusted 6 string Rickenbacker everything came together and their emotive pop set won out.
Tags: Field Music, Les Cox (sportifs), Pea Sea, School of Language, Sea Records, The Week That Was
Chris Rollen of Les Cox Sportifs infamy goes by Pea Sea when he hangs out with the Brewis Brothers. He has apparently been hanging out with them quite a bit because there is a Pea Sea album called The Debatable Land that Rollen recorded with Field Music as his backing band.
It features a couple of Les Cox stand-out songs Dead Beat Formula and Mixing Up the Cordite re-recorded by Pea Sea. It’s nice to hear different less bombastic versions of those songs, but the new songs are really the meat in this pea soup. Rollen was influenced by Silver Jews and Smog. Unlike David Berman and Bill Callahan Rollen’s voice is not a baritone or a monotone, but he can write a lyric that will stop you in your tracks. I still am partial to “I’m gonna turn to jazz and turn into my dad” from Dead Beat Formula, but he gives Berman a run for his money in Pinocchio Nose a story song about the dangers of smoking (The dangers aren’t what you think). He also can do pretty quite well. Come Over is a beauty with it’s acoustic guitar and sad string arrangement.
You can hear the Field Music influence in the songs as well. The sparse clean sound that you are familiar with if you are a fan of Field Music, The Week that Was and School of Language is present and makes the album an aural delight. The Debatable Land is a solid record that tempers the eccentricities of Les Cox Sportifs and adds a little (but not too much) folksiness both of which contribute to its long-lasting likability.
Not to worry Les Cox Sportifs are still going, they’ve just released a new EP that was also recorded by David Brewis. The Bath Bomb EP is available from their bandcamp page.