Jeremy Jones Band
Friday, June 15, 2014
The Legionnaire Saloon
Situated on a main street, The Legionnaire has a speakeasy attitude more charming with every stair step up to their modest stage. Security was light. Doors opened at 9:30, and there was no doorman guarding the ascent. Everyone looked to be enjoying themselves, but no heads raised for newcomers to the bar.
The upstairs bartender seemed inordinately excited at the prospect of his patrons being from New Orleans (no one was, though he asked). The price of a Racer 5 was a steal, commensurate to the rent disparities in Oakland versus San Francisco.
Mad Noise did that thing they do: sexy, wood-resonating acoustics with smoky, Creole spice. I'm not particularly enamored with the timbre of lead singer Khalil Sullivan's voice, but you can tell he knows what he's doing. His crooning takes on a particular whiny pathos that isn't my cup of bourbon, but while gruff, while growling, while snarling, he's magic.
Whether enjoying a 4505 Meats burger at the Ferry Building or the cheapest IPA you've found in the Bay, Mad Noise will make you thankful for local buskers.
The group is diverse, not afraid to use the N-word in a politically defiant courtship song, and wealthy in harmonica buzzing. Chris Weir (bass) and "Pharoah" (Jarel Stone on harmonica) could carry an entire show solo.
The Jeremy Jones band preceded Mad Noise with the sartorial inelegance one always hopes is the hallmark of music for music's sake. A fedora, an amazing Bo Diddley-esque rectilinear guitar body, and a remarkably eclectic repertoire of styles shored up the generally unremarkable performance.
Granted, any amount of swamp rock, boogie woogie, and bayou blues is cause for general contentment. Ryan Hickey's piano percussed the foundation for a Phish-like fractal of musical styles from a weed-heavy Southern summer. A pleasant summer, yes. A memorable one, no.
DEERPEOPLE stole the show with a few old hits and a fresh set of tracks from their newest EP. Their music evokes youth and bucolic innocence stripped away during passionate lovemaking in a dilapidated chapel. It music transports you.
Brennan Barnes' vocals took the authority of Colin Meloy and the unavailing weirdness of Blonde Redhead for a drum-frenzied chase. Per usual, Jordan Bayhylle put enough hip shaking into his drumming to gather a sizeable dance contingent for their audience-demanded encore, but drummed subtly enough to frame a pastoral dirge-turned-ballad.
Julian Shen's violin and Kendall Looney's flute trilling were clearly heard even in the small chamber, each taking a generally textural instrument in the indie rock scene and elevating it to a major voice. Barnes' use of choir organ and Alex Larrea's polyphonic chords deconstructed into irresistible pop hooks sang out over Derek Moore's surprising range.
There are few bands out there that actually sound even better live than their studio productions, and DEERPEOPLE is one of them. They flirt with the country confessional musings of Rilo Kiley with the metropolitan edge of The Beatles' Revolver, and it sounds fantastic. Next stop: stalking DEERPEOPLE in their native habitat of Stillwater, Okla.