Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kamikaze Hearts | Kriya Studio | Aug 11

So, I was all set to write a glorious post about the Kamikaze Hearts and Farm show at Kriya Studio last weekend but then I saw Dan Bolles from Seven Days had beaten me to it…and done it much better than I would have. In fact, his sentiments are so similar to mine, I’m just going to quote parts of his review (which doesn't seem to be available online) and then throw in a few additional comments.

Regarding Kriya Studio, Dan said:

If you haven't been yet, Kriya is officially listed at 333 North Winooski Avenue. Sounds easy enough, right? The trick is the eclectic artists' collective is actually behind the old bus station that now houses Global Market and a laundromat. It's confusing at first, but the Kriya folks were kind enough to put a sandwichboard sign out front directing traffic around the building. Thanks, guys!

To make a long, dull story short, I managed to find the venue after no small amount of head scratching and searching for a secret magical entrance. Man, I've really got to stop reading Harry Potter.

I had a similar experience. When jds, his friend John and I pulled up in front of the building, I said, “There’s a club here? Come on. This can’t be the right place.” Kriya is completely hidden from the road. You have to go down a flight of stairs and around to the back of the building to find the place. Even then, I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place until I saw someone collecting money.

When we arrived, there might have been a dozen people in the room but the room is so small, everyone turned around when we entered. I felt like I had walked into my neighbor’s living room unannounced.

The space is basically four walls, a few scattered chairs, no stage and a bathroom. It’s pretty sparse. It’s like going to a concert “East German style”…except they don’t sell beer at Kriya.

The other thing about Kriya is the toilet. It’s the loudest friggin’ toilet ever. You’re trying to enjoy the show but, every once in a while, you just hear, “SSSWWWWOOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHH!!!!!!!” If you are in the back of the room, it entirely overwhelms the sound of the band; completely distracting. Who the hell sold them on installing that industrial turbo flusher?

That’s enough about Kriya, now for the good stuff. Farm was on stage when we arrived. Here’s what Dan had to say:

As per the Dark Lord' (Casey Rea) recommendation, Farm has quickly become one of my favorite local acts, and their sophmore release has been in heavy rotation on my iPod. As is the case with many newer groups in town, I've been meaning to check them out live for a while. But due to many demands on my nocturnal activities, the timing just never really worked out. Until tonight.


A few technical difficulties aside, Farm was in fine form all night, each member of the band switching instruments - drums, guitars, bass and synths - nearly every song. The crowd that began to trickle in over the course of their set was rewarded with some truly excellent local music in a cozily inviting setting.

There was a song that Farm did about two-thirds of the way through their set that was fantastic. I thought it sounded like The Velvet Underground and jds heard twinges of Warren Zevon but we both loved it. We asked Ben from Farm afterwards about the song and he said it’s a new song that they are planning on using on their next album. In general though, Farm was really good and nicely built their sound through the set.

Between the sets, jds and John left Kriya to go buy some beers. Apparently, while Kriya doesn’t sell booze, you can bring it in. So, we had some Peak Organic Nut Brown ale to enjoy during The Kamikaze Hearts’ set. That’s two shows in a row that I had Peak Organic Nut Brown ale. I’m on a roll.

After about a half-hour break, The Kamikaze Hearts started their set. Here’s what Dan had to say:

The band breezily chatted with the crowd while tuning various folky instruments - lap steel, mandolin, acoustic guitar, etc. - and then somehow managed to maintain the friendly interplay while burning through a blistering set.

Fans of The Avett Brothers, Okkervil River or local bluegrass faves The Powder Kegs would do well to check out the KH's new disc. Their brand of pop-inflected folk-rock is catchy as hell and is on par with or better than any of the aforementioned acts.

Damn straight. Well said. Even though I like those other bands, KH truly are better than those other bands. It completely befuddles me as to why they don’t have a larger following. Sometimes I like a band but fully understand why others don’t. However, that’s not the case with The Kamikaze Hearts. Their songs are accessible, propulsive and earthy. Familiar yet fresh. In an age of increased meritocracy with indie labels and the internet, I feel that somehow the majority of music fans are missing a good band.

One of the highlights of the show for me was “Boston Whaler”. It’s a song they performed a few years ago during a Skidmore College radio performance and put up on their site. When jds turned me onto them, that was one of the songs he sent to me and it fully clicked with me. Unfortunately though, they’ve never released it on an album. Then, last year when I saw them at Langdon Street, it didn’t make it into the setlist. So, wanting to hear it, I requested the tune. After a few attempts to recall the lyrics, they kindly played it and it sounded great.

Regarding the crowd (about 30 people for KH), Dan had this to say:

Fortunately, there were a few local booking dudes in attendance that evening who were as taken with both bands as I was, meaning we should be seeing both groups in the very near future. Stay tuned.

Hopefully, those booking agents will bring them back into town.

Here's a video from the show of Kamikaze Hearts doing "War Horse". The sound is good but it's so dark that you can barely see anything.

One last note about the show…I noticed at the merch table that KH was selling a vinyl EP called Foxhole Prayers. Apparently, it’s a re-release of a four-song EP from 2004. I don’t have a turntable though. However, I learned that it’s available on emusic and iTunes. So, I bought it when I got home. If you like KH, it’s a must-buy. In fact, the first track, "Tennessee" is one of the finest tunes they’ve ever released.

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