Since its reopening less than a year ago, Capitol Hill club Chop Suey has done an amazing job redefining itself both internally (new owners, décor that both matches and doesn’t match) and externally (a swell mix of offerings, from dance to punk, including both local and national acts). This is one of the coolest places to hang out in Seattle, but also one of the most welcoming.
On January 21, the club’s Den (front bar) was crowded a full hour before the show, with attendees enjoying the pinball machines and free chili as they waited for openers DONZIS (pronounced DON-zeeeeez), a 3-man band comprised of Ice Man (guitars/vocals), Coco (bass/vocals) and Bam Bam (drums). (If you want their real names, you’re going to have to go to a show yourself to find out.) The 3-year old Seattle band – which cites AC/DC, ZZ Top and James Brown as influences – ripped through a set that included the requisite head-banging, knee-jerking and synchronized guitar rocking (think of Judas Priest here) that comes with good hard rock.
Polariser is a five-piece made up of former members of Feral Children and Spaceneedles. Consider them “Dad Rock,” influenced by Viper, Pixies and Pink Floyd. Polariser’s songs do a good job of building tension. They feel like anthems, ones that deserve marching. As a result, the audience seemed completely entranced at times.
Vocalists Sergey Posdrednikov and Thomas Wright sound like a mix of Jim Morrison and Adam Duritz, but it’s the bassist, Jim Cotton, who dominates the stage, often facing Keenan on drums or playing on his knees. The band’s performance is both moving and inspirational.
Third on the bill was BrainDrain, who have a very scant online presence despite touring the Pacific Northwest a handful of times. Their sound can best be described as “power pop drop funk shoegaze.” This is music that would be fun to drive to, sounding like modern day Replacements or Husker Du.
They’re engaging to watch as well; bassist Nick Provo could’ve given Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls a lesson or two, both daring and commanding the audience to approach the stage with a glare all his own. Also worth noting: BrainDrain are actively courting storied Seattle peep show venue, The Lusty Lady, to record their next album.
Don’t let the name fool you: headliners Blood Drugs (pictured above) are a goodhearted bunch who’ve been known to raise funds for other musicians and donate songs to compilations benefiting charitable organizations.
Musically, they like to play loud and fast. Singer/guitarist Kyle Bradford’s face reddens halfway through the first song as he sing/screams his lyrics over a heavy mix of drums, bass and lightly-distorted guitar work. It’s both heavy and fast at the same time. Although what forms in front of the band couldn’t technically be called a mosh pit, it’s pretty darn close. It’s clear why Blood Drugs are the headliner on this strong local bill.
(New NadaMucho.com Contributor Gary Horn is a long-time Seattle resident and an avid music fan who loves social media to an unhealthy extent.)