Yeah, like always, I'm way, way after when I originally thought I'd be. sigh. I'm gonna catch up, one of these damn days...
I ended up heading out to Rudyard's a handful of Fridays back (4/17, to be precise) to check out Springfield Riots; I didn't know a lot about 'em at the time, except that I liked what I heard on their Myspace page and that Brandon, bassist/resident cool guy from Co-Pilot, also played bass (and for Co-Pilot fans, btw, he assured me that band was busily mastering their long-awaited full-length). He'd laughlingly described their sound to me as something like "indie-Elton John," and at the time I just laughed and shook my head, having no clue what the hell that might mean.
After the fact, though, I kinda-sorta do get the reference -- not that the Riots gang play nonstop covers of "Candle in the Wind" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," but more that the songs they've crafted (so far, at least) are utterly classic, pitch-perfect pop that really needs no hyphenation. The melodies swoop and sway, the church organ-esque keys meander through beautifully, the guitars rock but not too much, the bass steps delicately along beneath it all, and the vocals are lovelorn and melancholy as all hell, with a soulful, retro feel to 'em.
The end result is something that owes a lot to that warm, rough-around-the-edges '70s pop-rock, a decent chunk to Floydian psychedelia (see "Hollow Romance"), and a small bit to all those morose-yet-poppy '60s prom-pop outfits my dad adores. It's nowhere near Brandon's space-rock stuff with Co-Pilot, no, but when he introduced me to the band's guitarist/vocalist Pedro, it all started to click into place. Turns out the guy (and one of the other guys in the band, can't remember who; one of the band members also reportedly used to be in Spain Colored Orange, to boot) used to be in Program, a fine, promising bunch of pop-rockers that for some reason never completely "clicked" for me, y'know? They were good, but...I dunno. There was always something missing.
Happily, this time whatever's missing is right freaking there, front and center. Watching at Rudz, I got this warm, fuzzy, contented feeling in my gut, the kind that basically drives me to search for stuff like this and plants a lazy grin firmly on my face. The band blazed away on the stage, all unfeigned nonchalance and ease, making music that hit right where it was supposed to, where all good music hits. In short, they were great.
The kicker, though, is that the show I saw was apparently Springfield Riots' first -- not that I could tell from the confident, polished (and, okay, maybe a wee bit tipsy) way they played. Growing pains? Nah, no way; these guys sounded like they'd been playing together for years. And on the bonus side, while I thought for sure Pedro was bullshitting when he claimed the band would soon have an EP out, turns out that's the truth. Said EP, entitled Say When, is on its way, hopefully due out by the time the summer heat hits in force.
'Til then, this weekend's a perfect opportunity to check 'em out for yourself, over at The Mink this coming Friday, May 8th. It's some kind of art show Pedro's organized, and it'll combine a bunch of local(?) artists, DJ sets by Ceeplus, Glasnost, & Mr. Castillo, and performances by Springfield Riots (obviously), The Factory Party, & Black Black Gold. Never heard the latter, but The Factory Party are damn good in their own right. The show's 21+, I'm afraid, runs from 9PM-midnight, and is free-free-free. Gonna be good...
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