Tuesday, March 17, 2009

great northern @ silverlake lounge

If it looks like a dive bar, and sounds like a dive bar, it's probably an elitist concert venue, crammed with hipsters prepped to welcome one of their own back to the the public eye with open arms. While I too enjoy exclusivity (mainly because I am, of course, a terrible person) and am occasionally up for cramming into a tiny hot-box with a mere 100 or so of my best friends, I couldn't help but wish Great Northern's triumphal unveiling of the new material could have occurred in a venue more concerned with selling sound than suds /gripe.

Since their debut, Great Northern has slowly but surely risen in status around WBH HQ from "those people who recorded the CD I got with my KCRW membership," to loved band -- a transformation capped off by their contribution to last year's Plastic Snow album. (We're contractually required to mention it once a month.) Needless to say, last night's fleeting sneak-peek at what Great Northern has done on their summer vacation (and winter, and summer and winter again...) has left me -- and going off crowd response, a whole lot of other people -- excited about the new album. (Out April 28th...children of Silver Lake, book your camping spot outside Amoeba now.) At the very least, I'm sure to give it the attention it deserves from day one rather than letting the disk languish in my car for weeks before giving it a test spin. However, judging by what I've just heard, I suspect that album neglect won't be an issue.

There's a decided subtle shift to the new material, or failing that, an interesting dichotomy between live Great Northern and recorded Great Northern. Their debut album Trading Twilight for Daylight is a beautiful, introspective tome. The sort of perfectly balanced soundtrack for rainy days and moments of quiet introspection. (No wonder it took me so long to get on board.) However, if the live performance was any indication (or rather if my ability to deduce sounds through a wall of unchecked bass), members Rachel Stole and Solon Bixler have harnessed their rock roots (she: a former hardcore singer, he: former member of...30 Seconds to Mars?), pushing their signature sound into a more rockin' form. In the interest of journalistic integrity (no really, quit laughing) and lacking reference material, or at the very least, another show to compare and contrast, I'll postpone overly-intellectual conclusions. After all, it's music; don't over-think a happy relationship...just steer it clear of those dark, fuzzy-sounding watering holes.

(photo Great Northern: David Studarus)

mp3: "The Middle" by Great Northern


robert_dean said...

the new album IS great and you're right that the album captures more of the live GN- a more accessible GN in this regard.

Wished I made it out that night.

Gina said...

check out " Etienne!" Great Northern makes a pleasant cameo.