There are so many layers to creating energy, adding form to a live music performance. Obviously, the genius of the recording artist playing the instrument in the moment, in the space, is the center of that universe. And the instrument. The Fender Jaguar, created in the 1960s, has always been magical to me, probably from my obsession with artists like Roland Howard and Nick Cave; The Birthday Party and These Immortal Souls. And of course, Codeine. My trip to London earlier this year was so rewarding because of the number of Birthday Party LPs I was able to find in Soho and in the two Rough Trade record shops. Watching Chris Brokaw with the reunited Come, creating his almost liquid sound from this instrument, was so exciting. Two layers of art in one place. The history of the instrument, and the mastery of the player.
Chris Brokaw playing his Fender Jaguar at the Come reunion performance at The Crocodile in Seattle. The drummer for Codeine. Then guitar in Come. Plus numerous solo records and soundtracks. The man even runs his own record label, Capitan Records, where he releases his material on cassettes, CDs, and vinyl. (CDs are fading from view these days, while first-run cassette albums and singles are roaring back!) If you don’t know Codeine, you must explore “Frigid Stars,” “Barely Real,” and “The White Birch,” which have all been released again in sumptuous vinyl packages by The Numero Group and Sub Pop. Sub Pop was spooky cool in the bands they scouted and signed in the early 90s.
The second opening band the night of the Come reunion performance, The Redwood Plan. Seems there are two records from this band: “Racing Towards the Heartbreak” and “Green Light Go.” This band definitely gives off a Riot Grrrl vibe live. Crash pop? Punk dance? My only complaint is that their set was too short. I didn’t really have time to get to know this lively band. More please.