Hoquiam, PWRFL Power, Johanna Kunin, Husbands Love Your Wives – King Cobra

The King Cobra website said 7PM when I checked as I was eating a permanent bachelor lifestyle dinner of quesadilla and top ramen. So I consumed my meal with a hurried aplomb and made it to the venue by 7:40. Only to find that the show was going to start at 9:30. Curse you! Therefore, I went on adventures of sorts.

First, I decided to stop by Value Village to check out the ever changing trends in 1970’s men’s fashion. Unimpressed with my clothing options, I perused the vinyl. Though I was tempted by some classical and swing offerings, I moved over to the books. The idea dawned in my head that I would quickly pick up a book and go read it at the coffee shop while drinking a fine hot chocolate. “Quickly” meant about 20 minutes, apparently. I ended up picking up an issue of Analog from November 2007 and then I walked over to the local coffee shop and ordered up a 12oz hot chocolate. Thanks to my purchase at the hipster Value Village, I had exact change for my drink. Woo hoo! I read a sci-fi story about Mars moving closer to earth and then being a clever advertisement for aliens to sell us a terraformed planet and then it was time for the show. Sorry to ruin the story for you, but I’m pretty sure no one else in the world will read that story.

King Cobra was playing some good movies. Tank Girl with French subtitles. Another one I can’t think of because it’s 1:20 in the morning. Despite their fine selection of films, the venue was not particularly full. I’m thinking about going back next week for Emerald City Soul Club, I bet it will be packed then. I bet there will be more single ladies, too, not that it matters.

Husbands, Love Your Wives
According to her myspace, she plays Black Metal / Minimalist / Regional Mexican, but it turns out, this is just the cute female version of Damien Jurado. Which is pretty weird since Mr. Jurado was backing her up on second guitar. Perhaps we can say she’s a more serious Rosie Thomas. Or a less serious Tiny Vipers. You get the idea. She plays simple songs with lots of verses and few choruses that would fit perfectly on a sad summer Sunday. Where you’re looking good lying in the sun, but perhaps you’re alone at the beach instead of next to the one you love when she falls asleep and gets a sunburn that doesn’t go away for a year. Like everything might be better, but then again it might not.

Johanna Kunin
Ms. Kunin played solo tonight, which is how I first saw her, so I was pretty excited. Since that first time, she’s been doing a lot of work with loops. Basically, record a short phrase and hit a button that repeats that short phrase until you tell it to stop. Ms. Kunin uses it for vocal layering and to create drum tracks by hitting the mic and clapping and making that tick-tock sound with her mouth and breathing. Similar to Sweet Potatoes, but more… professional. I prefer Johanna Kunin solo to the orchestrated version. I feel like the solo stuff is more real. And it is pretty amazing. Her voice is ridiculous, her piano/keyboard playing is immaculate, and the loops are well done and tasteful. Where HYLW makes you think that you can be a rock star, Johanna Kunin makes you think twice about it. It might not be possible to get that good. It might be one of those things where you just have to be that good in the first place. It would be wonderful to just be that good.

A while later I went to pick up some Ms. Kunin merchandise. She talked me into buying the last handmade book of the sheet music for her latest record (plus one song). However, I was a dollar short. Since it was the last copy in existence, I asked if it was possible to purchase it anyhow. I volunteered to mail the extra dollar at a later time. She said that was not necessary, but made me pinky swear to buy the new record when it came out. Now my low-talent-high-ambition pinky has hopefully gained something from the touch of the pinky that has more talent than most people as a whole.

PWRFL Power
What’s this? An electric guitar? Standing up? Rocking out? This is a side of PWRFL Power that I have not had the pleasure of experiencing. He spends a lot of time walking around the stage and standing on things. I liked very much that he was wearing all white and playing a white guitar. And his stories between songs are great. “Do you guys ever go to house parties? Do you ever feel wrong?” “I think there is something between Google and drug dealers…” Near the end, he was rocking so hard, he had to jump off his tiny amp. By doing so, he knocked over a mic. I think he’s been watching a lot of Pete Townsend live footage. Luckily nothing was broken.  His set was definitely the most fun set of the evening.  I laughed out loud several times.  However, I think his ridiculous guitar playing is easier to recognize on an acoustic guitar, though he did know a lot of tricks on electric as well.

Hoquiam
Hoquiam is Damien and Drake Jurado. Drake, by the way, is an awesome name. Looking up at the Jurado brothers, I imagined them like Christian Bale. Drake is Christian Bale in The Machinist: ridiculously skinny and erratic. Damien is Christian Bale in Batman: beefed up and toned down. Drake wears sunglasses on stage for some reason unbeknownst to me. Damien constantly scrunches up his face in concentration or consternation. Though they appear to be opposites, they are clearly brothers. Between songs, they mumble and talk in hushed tones about what to play next, speaking in a language that is not intelligible by anyone outside of their brotherly bond. Then, they play songs which sound exactly like I imagine the city of Hoquiam must be: full of despair and desperation. I just drove through there last week, so I must be an expert. The songs sound like some of the houses there look: barely hanging on, going two directions at once, urgently asking for some sort of help. The songs also have a lot of Northwest references which make them more personal, perhaps too personal. The songs are great. You can check them out for yourselves at Full-Tilt Ice Cream on March 14th.

It is now about 2:20 and I’m real tired. I hope you’ll forgive any errors I may have made above, but I cannot correct them at this time. I’ll get to them tomorrow after I cook a huge batch of homefries for myself.

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One thought on “Hoquiam, PWRFL Power, Johanna Kunin, Husbands Love Your Wives – King Cobra

  1. serena says:

    You should watch the Hoquiam videos on youtube. They’re quite fantastic.

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