Live: Citay

Citay pic #5
Citay. Photo by Daniel Yuan.

RUDYARD'S -- 3/15/08: For about half on hour in Saturday night, a small group of Houstonians went back in time via the psychedelic folk sounds of Citay. In sharp contrast to the Public Enemy tunes blasting downstairs, the second floor of Rudyard's hosted the noodling electric guitars, mellow acoustic plucking, and dreamy soundscapes of this San Francisco group.
Citay started as a studio project, a fact which their live show reflects. The band played their songs straightforwardly and without much spontaneity, and I'd normally call fault right there. I have a thing for guitar solos, however, and what trumps a good ripping solo? A good ripping double solo. The dual lead guitars played in perfect unison and rang out some sweet harmonies, which carried most of the show. If you've never seen a tiny Asian girl effortlessly tearing away at the frets through an entire set, add that to your to-do list.
Unfortunately, the giant atmospheric sounds of this band felt pretty constrained by the modest-sized venue. Citay's music belongs outside on a lazy, daydreamy afternoon...not on a bar stage. The volume itself started out a little overpowering, but a combination of Rudz staff adjustment and my existing band-traumatized ears led to the band being at just the right level by the second song.
Citay pic #1
Citay. Photo by D. Yuan.

As for a setlist, Citay's songs are all pretty similar. "First Fantasy" and "Little Kingdom" both came out, but their long songs and a short set didn't allow for much freedom. Frontman Ezra Feinberg pulled a few cheers from the (rather sparse) crowd by recalling seeing recent performances by The Homosexuals and Motorhead. Also, miscellany like sleigh bells, xylophones, and lush vocal harmonies popped up once in a while, adding just enough "wha?" factor to the night to keep the set interesting for those not hypnotized by dueling guitars.
Not really a jam band, not quite stoner rock, but not a carbon copy of that '60s sound, either -- Flower Power 2.0 was the theme of the night. Good music for a chair-sittin', head-bobbin' kind of night.
P.S. -- James at Rudyard's deserves a free beer if you see him, for letting the (highly amateur) press into the show. Cheers. END