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From Indian Lakes and Tokyo Police Club @ Vinyl Music Hall

 

Photos by Katy Newbill (ktdidit)

It’s always a plus to me when I go to a show and have a lineup of bands that really have nothing in common, other than the fact that they fit in that ever widening definition of alternative rock. The show Sunday night at Vinyl Music Hall was such a show. You had From Indian Lakes going from layered dreaminess to aggressive indie rock, and Tokyo Police Club with their infectious indie pop with a punch. Both bands have seen their fair share of the road, but this was our first opportunity seeing them, having missed Tokyo Police Club at Shaky Knees in 2014 because of scheduling.

From Indian Lakes

We have been following From Indian Lakes since their excellent 2012 release Able Bodies caught our attention and since we have had a regular Wednesday night radio show on Radio Free Pensacola, we have consistently played We Are Sick from that record. They followed that up 2 years later with an equally excellent Absent Sounds, which contains probably one of my all-time favorite songs, Breathe Desperately. Since then they have released the EP Wanderer, which contains three new tracks with acoustic renditions of two tracks from Absent Sounds

From Indian Lakes

All of their recordings are brilliant collections of music which belong in everyone’s personal collection, however hearing the material performed live brings out an edgier sound not found on record.  It’s quite addictive. Makes me want to see them again. During the set, front man Joey Vannucchi promised new music in the near future so we will definitely keep our ears alert for that.

From Indian Lakes

From Indian Lakes

Tokyo Police Club burst on the scene in 2006 with A Lesson In Crime, which contains Cheer It On (a station favorite!). They followed that up with a classic record Elephant Shell. Each record is filled with alternative rock goodness both aggressive yet catchy. Both records solidified their place on the festival circuit and they had garnered spots at Coachella, Lollapalooza, and UK’s Glastonbury.

Tokyo Police Club

2010’s Champ seemed to signify a band on the rise and then they seemed to disappear from the radar a bit. They finally came back on the music scene with 2014’s brilliant Forcefield with its eight minute plus Argentina (Parts I, II, III). We find it very cool that a band whose tracks usually clock in at two and a half to three minutes can pull off an eight minute track. But pull it off they did. 

Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club

They are currently touring in support of the EP Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Part 1) which brought them to a very excited crowd Sunday night in Pensacola. The band blasted through a set scattered with songs across their entire catalog, and provided an intense musical experience that sounds just as good in a packed club as a large festival stage.

You meet the coolest people at indie shows: Street Eaters - Sluggos, Pensacola

I always try to get to the venue on time to see all of the bands that are on the night's lineup. I know, it makes for a long night, but I have learned a lot during those nights. Hey, often the bands that are considered the openers or the "warm up" acts are the most interesting. There is no dynamic light show, or props, or what have you, to enhance the experience, just the raw energy of the music. I have always been sort of a musicphile, but my passion has always been punk, indie,  and alternative rock. I guess you could say I am addicted to the energy. But I often meet the coolest people at these shows, the bands themselves.

Life on the road fascinates me. And having learned over the years the paltry sums  many of these touring bands make performing shows and the struggles of making money, not to mention a profit, from their recordings, has  led me to wonder how they so often bring such intensity to their sets. There is the constant driving, getting to the venue and setting up their gear, performing from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, breaking down and loading up to drive to the next town. But, in my experience of going to these shows, they are often the friendliest people and are more than willing to take some time and chat with you.

I had gone to Sluggos in downtown Pensacola, Friday night to see a favorite singer/songwriter perform with her new duo and link up with some past bandmates. But, as is my pattern, I showed up early to catch the first couple of bands. One of those bands was Street Eaters , a post-punk/indie two piece outfit from Berkeley, California. I hate generalizations, but how do describe a couple of people who jam so hard they blow your face off. The two piece is made up of Megan March Mink on drums and vocals, and John No (or is it Geek?) on bass and vocals. They are touring in support of a newly released recording Blood::Muscles::Bones. I purchased the record at the show, and while I love the record (and wish that I had purchased all of their older recordings), nothing can replace the intensity of seeing them perform these songs live. For about 30 to 40 minutes they pretty much emptied the front of the house and drove everyone to front and center to experience the energy they bring.

I had a chance to chat with John after the set and came to appreciate the dedication he and Megan have to their music and how thankful they are for those that attend their shows. He is a school teacher by trade and Megan is a sound engineer, so yes, they have careers outside of music. I see that more and more in todays environment. Musicians have to face the reality that music very often does not pay all the bills. But that makes the experience of seeing and meeting people like John and Megan all the more meaningful. And that makes experiencing the intensity of their live shows that much more genuine. I hope they continue to make time for music, they are great musicians and songwriters, and I want to hear more from them. You can pick up their release on band camp. Please do, it is so worth it.

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