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Concert review: Sad Horse + Niilo Smeds/Strawberry Jam, 11/13/2012
Tokyo Garden is good for at least one killer mid-week show every season.
Normally I'd be home in bed (or at least passed out on the couch), but I had seen Sad Horse last time they came through town and was taken with their spastic ways and bought their tape (more than one actually) and played it often in my truck while drving from here to there. More than excited to see them again.
Show info gave a 9 p.m. start time and while I should have known better, I sat at a mostly empty bar until the band showed around 9:15. Music started at 9:45 or so. No biggie.
Niilo Smeds: I'd need to look back in the archives to make sure, but I think I've called Niilo Fresno's best songwriter once or twice before. I still believe it. To that I'll add that he's a damn fine guitar player as well, and seems like he improves every time I see him. Here he played a solo set with an electric guitar plugged in and thick (dripping) with reverb. The whole thing had a jangly, twinkling quality that seemed to fit the mood of the songs.
What I like about Niilo is that every show seems to be a different experience. He's always pushing himself and the songs. High point: "Summer Air"
Sad Horse: Guy/girl guitar/drum duo that plays spastic rock at sometimes breakneck speed with some yelling and yelping, before the song breaks down into complete noise, then slows ... then stops ... then rushes back into the main riff/jam and starts all over again. Super lo-fi with hints of riot grrrl rock, especially in the vocals. What punk rock sounds like when you take away all the scenester BS. High point: "Made in China"
Strawberry Jam: Someone should probably smack me, but I skipped their set and went to bed.