This past Wednesday at The Vera Project felt more like an awesome house party with all your friends - somewhere sunny and warm, and where a bunch of grimy dudes are taking turns playing songs in said party house’s dad’s garage - people chilling on the driveway, dancing or thrashing when songs called for it. Someone making a gallant jump from the roof into the pool (or in Wednesday night's case the bassist from Criminal Hygiene stage diving during Twin Peaks' set). The night opened with Seattle-area group Bod warming up the room and then diving in deeper to the garage grunge of the night with LA bands Criminal Hygiene and Meatbodies before the headlining act Twin Peaks arrived on stage. These four bands complimented and built on each other expertly. It was the kind of line up where you could see all these musicians agreeing on what should go on a 90s mix-tape. But each group focused on different aspects of these influences and ultimately threw a great party.
Bod started out the night with their grungy 90s infused songs, singing about motorcycles and jet skis, making the crowd smile and loosen up. No member of Bod is a stranger to the Seattle scene - members harking from other local acts like Boat, Cumulus, Oberhofer, and Slowwave, but Bod is a relatively new group for Seattle, their latest track was released on Bandcamp earlier this fall, towards the end of their set they revealed they have more new songs coming soon. It’s easy to see that they love making music and like to do so collectively, the way they conferred between songs and helped cover for one and other when a string broke or someone needed to tune. Keep an eye out for more from these guys soon.
Next, Criminal Hygiene played. The combo of gruff vocals, distorted guitars and driving drums was a recipe for ruckus - something Criminal Hygiene seems to have a reputation of doing. But it’s all in fun and jest. With smiles on their faces and some great stage energy you can tell that this is LA grown grunge - the kind of care free garage rock about -yes- heart break, drinking, and reckless abandon but at a beach party. Criminal Hygiene put out an EP in February and has been touring with Twin Peaks off and on this year - this was actually their second time through Seattle this year with Twin Peaks. Despite the gruffness of Criminal Hygiene's songs a certain softness was particularly present at their show at Vera this past week because the drummer’s - who goes by the name Birdman - grandma was front row at the show. The band offered to play an Elvis cover while she sang, much to everyone’s disappointment she declined. CH has been touted as LA’s answer to Ty Seagull - who is an obvious influence on the group. This is a band to follow in garage rock. They are progressive, fun and smart about their tracks and energy that they carry. And, not a bad pick to play before veteran Ty Seagull guitarist’s Chad Ubovich’s newest project: Meatbodies.
Meatbodies is the evolution of Chad Ubovich’s “Chad and the Meatbodies”. As a backing guitar for the likes of Mikal Cronin and Ty Seagull’s FUZZ he’s had time to hone his sound and learn the elegant secrets to combining 60s psych, with good old fashioned rock and roll in the garage. The group recently released their debut self-titled full length album last month, and the album throws down, but in person - it's just such a treat. Meatbodies is a bit of a grunge super group, with members from not only FUZZ but also Wand and together PANGEA backing Ubovich in the live setting (as well as in studio for a handful of songs). Needless to say, these guys know their way around their instruments and are here to have fun. The energy that they are able to harness on stage is something that I hope the other bands on the night’s bill noticed - it's not every day that you get such an intimate show from such established musicians. The crowd’s energy never once dissipated, leaving everyone sweaty and out of breath only to have a few short minutes to cool off, go outside and smoke a cigarette or grab some water before Twin Peaks took the stage.
Headlining Chicago group Twin Peaks are young, but they are very talented. This showed in their set at Vera. Guitarist and bassist Clay Frankel and Jack Dolan played perfectly in sync with each other and drummer Connor Brodner while guitarist Cadien Lake James focused on crowd interaction as he threw himself at the crowd, the stage floor and the faces of the front row - it’s the kind of teamwork that only life long childhood friends can do so effortlessly, which is the case for Twin Peaks. Everyone loved it. These are smart guys who know how to harness crowd energy. Even the three openers for the night were all in the pit, moshing with the fans as fans themselves.
But as with all good parties, they must come to an end - and like all of the best parties, the cops didn’t have to bust anyone. Twin Peaks are heading to the Midwest next, fingers crossed we will see them come through Seattle again next year. Until then, here's some more photos to tide us all over - you can see the whole set here.
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