When it comes to music, I am a snob and a critic. I like jazz, but hate 98% of it. I also like indie-rock, but only about 5% of what I hear. I like most genres, but if I’m honest, I think that 95% of all the music being recorded is derivative and not worth my time.
The Kuumbwa Jazz venue has started hosting indie-rock shows, and their seventh show in this “Kuumbwa Club” series was Siren Solstice and Feed Me Jack. Props for Kuumbwa branching out, but they have a stellar jazz reputation to protect. Local indie-rock shows seem like a risky proposition for a club bringing world-class jazz and world music acts to the Central Coast.
Do you get where I’m going with this? I was nervous. I was nervous I wouldn’t like what was going on. I was nervous that the Kuumbwa was now lowering the bar once a week to broaden their audience.
I was wrong.
Once Siren Solstice opened the packed house (200+) with their take on West Coast Jazz, with a dash of funk, I was drumming the table till my fingers were sore. The crowd was on their feet, the sax was skronking and I was wondering why I don’t get out to see jazz more often than I do.
Next thing I know, Feed Me Jack is tuning up, now the crowd is seething, now the saxophone is being blended by a delay pedal. I was three songs in, and still trying to decide exactly how to place them, when I just gave up and went with the flow. After that, I caught the Grizzly Bear influences, the Animal Collective vocal primitivism, and even some guitar interplay that reminded me of some of Foals earlier work.
It really is a miracle that Feed Me Jack sound as good as they do. In the hands of 98% of the rest of the indie-rock populous, compositions for drums, bass, 2 electric guitars, keyboards and saxophone would be disastrous mush. Probably only 2% of bands have found their sound early enough in their career to do a Little Dragon cover and make it their own.
Feed Me Jack are easily in that 2%, and I left the Kuumbwa grinning, energized and ready to tell people about this new band I just heard.