I have been looking forward to seeing Grand Tarantula play for about 3 weeks, i.e. since I saw them last. I caught their set at The Casbah between The Heavy Guilt duo (musical wizard Al and singer Erik) rocking The Atari Lounge and The Nervous Wreckords rocking the main stage (a chick on bass, fuck yes). Grand Tarantula happened to be an added bonus to the evening and so I started
stalking following their social media and website to find out when I could catch them again.
Wednesday night, the 25th, offered me my first chance. I had never been to U-31 but was stoked to check out a new venue. Especially since I have developed a fat crush on North Park. I am trying desperately to move over that way and feel like it will exponentially increase my cool factor (which I have tarnished just by saying that.)
From what I saw online U-31 looked like a Gaslamp-nightclub-alternative, which I suppose it probably is come Saturday. But when I got there it was much more relaxed and had a friendly neighborhood-bar feeling. Definitely my speed. Thanks to a rad promotion by Jedi Sugar and Six One Nine Vodka there was hosted vodka drinks from 9pm to 10pm, this night was shaping up quite well and the band wasn’t even on yet.
After I enjoyed some sparkling conversation with friends over sparkling vodka-soda’s Grand Tarantula took the modest stage U-31 offers. While it didn’t look like much of a performance area the sound-system seemed up to snuff as GT launched into their concise set. The mixture of a punk rock edge along with a pop flair isn’t something I would be attracted to on paper but they sure as shit make it work. Brazen vocals by Jordan Clark had the crowd dancing, which I love. Without overdoing it Clark is able to belt out songs with a feverish pace and a strained passion in his voice. The back up vocals and pop-style harmonies (wish I could describe more accurately… listen at about 2:30 on “I’m Not Gonna Let You Go”) are a sweet juxtaposition to the bitter, sometimes harsh lyrics. With just a handful of songs performed Grand Tarantula managed to captivate the audience and surely made fans out of newcomers. My only complaint(?) would be that in such a short set with a few of the songs sounding similar it made it hard to differentiate one tune from another. Could have used some other material to break up the sound- a more mellow tune perhaps or a cover even. Just a thought. Overall I dug it and it was over way, way too soon.
Following GT was a band making their debut, Deadly Birds. I wasn’t thrilled with the few songs I stayed for. Kind of a Black Crowes/Buckcherry sound to it. Not really my thing. So I pulled the “I’m almost 30 and I have work in the morning” card and bounced before midnight (cool factor diminishing rapidly).
Sounds to Sample from Grand Tarantula: