LocoMotive, Asterhouse, Dirty Dirty and Pony Time
Live @ The Vera Project in Seattle
Jan. 9, 2016
Words by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Sunny Martini
“Earplugs,” I say to the dad next to me asking if his kid can get right in the front, as said kid nervously jams his tiny fingers into his tiny ears in fear that it might be too loud.
But this kid is going for it, wanting to be right next to the stage where all the action is. And boy is there. Seattle’s always-all-ages, much revered venue The Vera Project pulled together an impressive all-local lineup that saw kids and adults alike jamming out late into the night.
The night kicks off with LocoMotive, a three-piece of Snoqualmie youngsters who epitomize the term “a ball of energy.”
It’s admirable how hardworking this trio is, and how much fun they’re clearly having on that stage. You can barely see drummer Ethan Horn behind the kit, but he’s holding the beat down with practiced musicianship while guitarist Ryan Horn makes mincemeat of both the stage and his guitar. (Mincemeat is a compliment you guys.)
Vocalist/bassist Bella Mariani is nothing but impressive, taking control of the stage like a pro while attacking their original material with her surprisingly deep, clear voice.
With multiple cameras set up throughout the venue, Mariani announces they’re recording a YouTube video for a new track “Muscle Memory” and the crowd goes crazy, jumping around, cheering them on, admiring like rock stars. I don’t even know how old these kids all are – they’re definitely young – but the soulful grooves on “Isn’t That Special” and Mariani’s whiplash vocals are proof that their musical chops run deep.
Up next are Asterhouse – another youthful local threesome – anchored by the uber-connected Thornburg brothers. Lead vocalist/drummer John Thornburg slaughtered the stage with his passionate, masterful theatrics, owning both the kit and his vocal performance with 100 percent conviction, while his brother Russ on guitar pulls off a classic rock/grunge mashup like nobody’s business.
Bassist Julio Posada brings in the balance, smoothing all the edges, and lending a deep, vintage groove to the band’s sound. There’s definitely something magical happening with this band, and the onstage vibes are transporting and attention-grabbing.
Dirty Dirty filled the third spot of the night with their groovy garage-punk. It’s fuzzy, it’s dark, it’s surprisingly danceable. Vocalist/guitarist Ian Forrester proves his mojo in spades, with new drummer Mark Knowles (Nostalgist) bringing beats to their post-punk acumen.
Not to be outdone, headliner Pony Time flexed their local musical muscle via Pacific Northwest riot-punk mashed with That Thing You Do-style melodies. They’re not a throwback by any means, but Luke Beetham and Stacy Peck have clearly learned their musical roots and they’re not afraid to shake it up.