Monday, July 11, 2016

Steve Gunn - Spacin -- Black Cat - Jul 10 2016

by John Miller

Spacin - Spacin meander on stage about ten after eight. The crowd follows, slowly making their way into the Back Room. It's quiet but to be honest, I expected as much. Spacin have to compete with uncharacteristically nice weather. Beer in hand, Jason Killinger introduces his four piece as they stumble into their first piece. It's decidedly lo-fi fuzz that begins quietly enough before morphing into a four minute riff. Hailing from Philadelphia, Spacin is supporting their latest, 'Total Freedom', and if it's anything like this set, it is probably well worth the listen. Jason keeps it light, asking for a bottle opener during an impromptu intermission. The drums thud while the bass follows along. Jason fiddles with his beverage. For such a laid back set there is a lot of shredding tonight. The lead guitarist is doing a killer job of keeping things exciting. Structurally the songs are interesting; big hooks followed by sludge, that find their way back to the hooks. Really solid. The room has filled out nicely as the back half of the set begins. Things slow down and take on a more psychedelic bent, before the three piece drum set begins. And seemingly out of nowhere another endless hook. Great set.
 photo: Geoff Tischman

Steve Gunn - Formally of Kurt Vile's backing band, The Violaters, Brooklyn based Steve Gunn is supporting his latest album Eyes on the Lines (his seventh release since 2013). I don't know if it is because I have read so many reviews of David's but I feel like I have seen Kurt Vile multiple times. So I am excited to see what Steve Gunn is all about. I wasn't expecting so much twang; the first piece has a lot of slide guitar that plays well with Steve's voice. It's a nice complement before the two guitarists battle it out. With the reviews read about his most recent release, I expected something a lot slower. I kept seeing words like contemplative, journey, direction and expected a slow trek out west; taking in each landscape with a cool, measured thought. The bass is good; not quite mid range, not quite low end, not exactly emphasizing every bump in the road but rather letting the shocks do their job. At times the guitars move at a blistering pace, shredding in between Steve and the drums. And considering how measured he is, I am surprised how loud they get. The earlier reviews also misled me as well. Kurt Vile's sets reminded David of early Pink Floyd and Velvet Underground. That’s not to say they were wrong, I just assumed Gunn might follow suit.  His pieces are much more up tempo. As if he were on a mission; racing through the south. While it isn't quite a madcap race to the end, it is certainly at least 10 to 15 miles above the speed limit; like an old pickup rumbling down dirt country road.

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