Sloucher—brilliantly nonchalant or nonchalantly brilliant? Yes.
Sloucher—brilliantly nonchalant or nonchalantly brilliant? Yes. Ulysses Curry

SLOUCHER AT THE VERA STAGE

Sponsored
New musical premieres in West Seattle Junction - WE'VE BATTLED MONSTERS BEFORE
ArtsWest reopens with a heartwarming tale of family strength. Watch in-person or online until Dec 26

I knew my CHBP was going to get off to a good start when Sloucher's guitarist began soundchecking with Three Dog Night's crowning achievement, "Shambala." The drummer's DAMN. T-shirt also portended good things. And one of Sean Nelson's favorite Seattle bands did not disappoint.

If you still have time in your crammed listening life for "four young white guys in jeans" indie-rock, you could do much worse than the aptly named Sloucher. They were coming off an opening slot with Portugal. The Man at the Paramount the previous night, so this sparsely attended 5 p.m. gig may have seemed like a comedown, but Sloucher nevertheless flexed their nonchalant brilliance, their innate Pavementality. The group's surprising rhythmic punchiness and insinuating, non-obvious tunes would make me flip open my checkbook, if I were blessed enough to work for Sub Pop's A&R department.

Sloucher work within a well-trod, narrow niche, but they wring whatever thrills remain in it with easy efficacy. At one point, the singer/guitarist asked the crowd, "Do you like rock songs? Do you like to jump?" It appears that we still do enjoy both.

THUNDERCAT AT THE MAIN STAGE

DayGlo™ jazz fusion is the next big thing, if Thundercat has any say.
DayGlo™ jazz fusion is the next big thing, if Thundercat has any say. Ulysses Curry

This was beyond a doubt the best concert I've ever seen by someone sporting fuschia dreadlocks. Going against tradition, The Thundercat trio started early, so I caught them in media res, en feugo. The crowd was sizeable despite the difficult dinner-time slot, and more impressive given that Thundercat essentially creates DayGlo™ jazz fusion that's like a 21st-century update of Return to Forever or Jaco Pastorius-era Weather Report, with maniacally gleeful six-string bass calculus that would make Squarepusher furiously scratch his beard.

Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner) adds sugary, George Duke-like falsetto vocals to the group's speedy, synapse-sizzling complexity. It's an odd combo of elements that doesn't really conform to pop-music specs (Michael McDonald cameo on the new Drunk LP notwithstanding), but the mostly young crowd gobbled up the mercurial af compositions. This is what progress looks (and sounds) like.

MOMMY LONG LEGS AT THE CHA CHA STAGE

Mommy Long Legs scabrously soundtracked this seaty clusterfuck in the Cha Cha.
Mommy Long Legs scabrously soundtracked this sweaty clusterfuck in the Cha Cha. Ulysses Curry

Support The Stranger

I'm not very keen on punk-influenced rock these days, but there's no denying Seattle foursome Mommy Long Legs' mastery of the form. Their songs are mostly amphetamine'd and mean, animated by dense guitar-bass clangor, truculent gang vocals, and jagged dynamics somewhere in the barbed nexus between first-wave punk and No Wave—but with bratty pop instincts ablaze.

Mommy Long Legs' songs burn briefly but brightly. They make me think of Bikini Kill, LiLiPUT, Screaming Females, Crass, and (here's one I'd not thought of for decades) Rubella Ballet.

Punk in the 2010s = blues in the 1960s, but in the right hands, it can still sound utterly vital—and can still inspire a moshpit, as last night proved. Give it up for these catharsisters.

Sponsored
Helping you create a space uniquely yours for work or play, with style and art, your way.
Custom framing, photo frames, printing on metal, paper and canvas.