Teacup Gorilla embarks on a midwest tour starting August 2nd 2015 in Wichita, KS. Catch them if you can!
“Better late than never” is a saying that is appropriate for how late this show review is being posted, but it’s especially apt when it applies to writing about a compelling band with great tunes.
Miriam Suzanne, the bass player and part-time vocalist for Teacup Gorilla wrote me an e-mail back in March about the open-source multimedia novel Riding SideSaddle* and asked if I’d like to come to the release party at Syntax Physic Opera. Having seen Kotorino at Syntax in February, I knew that it was just the type of space that would be welcoming to such an event. I listened to the Teacup Gorilla demos that were available at the time and instantly liked what I heard – at the time I said that they have a “sound that’s a gorgeous blend of Pixies & Pavement,” and I stand by that assessment. The music recalls those bands at times, and, diving into the lyrics, one could also spend days scanning and interpreting the lyrics, much like those of Messrs Francis and Malkmus.
I previewed Open to the Hound from songs they had posted on their website and liked what I heard of their new-folk (mostly that it wasn’t that over-echoed “hey ho” stuff that was so pervasive for a while). I was in for a surprise, however.
I met Miriam before the show, pink-coiffed and a wonderful person. I know that setting up before a show takes time, so we didn’t chat for too long.
|Syntax Physic Opera – Denver|
Jen Korte started the show, playing her guitar and accompanied by Jessica DeNicola who sang along. Haunting and powerful tunes. I love going to shows like this, because I’m introduced to musicians and people who I wouldn’t otherwise see. Jen and Jessica had a wonderful harmony together.
|Jen Korte & Jessica DeNicola|
Miriam and Daniel from Teacup Gorilla got onstage for a song and Miriam read from the novel while Daniel added ambient guitar sounds.
Open to the Hound played next. Their live set was a high-energy departure from the tracks I sampled online. It took me by surprise, but in a really good way. I loved the power and dynamics. So much so that I didn’t really get a decent picture because I was so drawn to the music & performance.
|Open to the Hound|
OttH reminded me more of a boozy roadhouse band from a David Lynch film, plugged in and distorted, with yelping primal screams for good measure.
Teacup Gorilla was up last, the musical focal point of the night, with Miriam and others reading parts of the novel during the songs of their set as well.
They played about nine songs, some of which reminded me of different bits of other songs and artists – “Cortez The Killer” here, “The New Stone Age” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark there.
|Teacup Gorilla – Eric, Sondra, Daniel|
The set ended with a rocked-out cover of “Sixteen Tons,” employing the vocal talents of Aaron Liechty, the singer for pre-Teacup Gorilla band Dirt Circle Dogs.
Sometimes when I’m watching a band, I daydream that I’m up there playing along, partaking, creating, crafting. Watching Teacup Gorilla, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have anything to add, and wouldn’t want to. They had a rotating cast throughout the night, each adding something wonderful, but where I normally would feel the pull to be up there, I was more than content to enjoy the evening as it was. I don’t know if that makes me more mature or at peace, but I was just digging everything, and didn’t want the night to be over, grateful that Miriam invited me to be a part of the night and experience their art, and the art of Jen and Open to the Hound, and everyone else there.
|Riding Sidesaddle* – the novel|