Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Overdue Recap: Angus & Julia Stone, Hey Ocean @ The Loft, UCSD, Grand Ole Party & Casbah 11.17.08

Monday night I checked out another relatively new venue, The Loft at UCSD. I really haven't had any reason, other than Che Cafe and RIMAC, to go to UCSD in several years, so I felt completely lost on the campus. I bought a parking permit and circled lots until I finally parked at the Gilman structure which turned out to just be a short walk to Price Center. There's a huge student center and lounge adjacent the original Price Center and after wandering, I finally got directions and found The Loft. There was a film screening, so I played on the free computers until the movie and Q&A ended. Jeff was there and we hung out until the bands started.

The Loft is a great space for bands and I'm kicking myself for missing Yeasayer who played there last night, but that is neither here nor there. There is ample seating, an open floor in front of the stage which is average sized, but perfect lighting and an even better sound system. They certainly didn't cut corners to get top of the line sound equipment. For more, click 'keep on reading'.

Hey Ocean is a band from Canada. This was their first US tour, and I believe only their third in the states. They were cute and it was clear that they really love playing music. They had multiple instrumental garnishes, like the use of flute, a xylophone, and a triangle, along with shakers and such. My thought was they follow in the vein of Jason Mraz, happy lyrics and music, not quite jaded by life, and it was refreshing, though don't get me wrong, I still love the angsty and introspective stuff, it was nice to see them enjoy themselves onstage. I felt very old at the show, and it was a sea of digital cameras flashing the whole show, but the bands didn't seem to mind.

Hey Ocean "Beat Boxer"

Hey Ocean "Alright"

Hey Ocean "Jolene"

I was really excited to see Angus & Julia Stone, thanks to some press releases I'd received and the recent burst of Aussie musicians that have been brought to my attention (Paul Turner, An Horse are a couple others). They're a brother and sister duo, and were backed by a bassist from Australia and a drummer that they knew from Australia but who currently lives in San Francisco.

The two of them trade off vocals. Julia has a beautiful raspy voice with a touch of Julie Garland from the Wizard of Oz, emphasized even more by her flower adorned braids and her dress and knee high stockings, she had the look of someone who loves to dance in a field of daisies on a rainy day.

And while she was the sweet one, Angus is more weathered, with his bushy beard and denim shirt, he looks like someone who had been told to finally get out of the tree he was trying to save against loggers in the Northwest. The contrast of the two created a perfect balance and the room was nearly dead silent from the first note to the very last of the set.

Angus & Julia Stone "Just A Boy"

Angus & Julia Stone "Mango Tree"

A couple other people who were at the show also posted their videos on YouTube. You can see those here and here.

It was great to see an intimate show a respectful venue such as The Loft and I hope to see more shows there in the future. For the record, most shows are $5 or "pay what you can" for students with a valid student I.D.

After the show I didn't waste much time, and headed to the Casbah to catch Grand Ole Party. Obviously a very different crowd and type of music. It was packed and frankly I've taken enough pictures of them that I didn't fight too hard to get a spot up front but they put on their typical great set, though it seemed a little short at 40 minutes. The crowd was happy and I was too, after having seen two great shows in one night.

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