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Monday, April 09, 2012

SHOW REVIEW: Colleen Green, Heavy Hawaii, Sunwheel, Asha


Heavy Hawaii
Colleen Green
Soda Bar San Diego, CA.

   Let me just say that I was actually excited to see two new local bands for what felt like the first time in two years.  I got there early just see Asha and Sunwheel.  I know Asha was a "game time" substitution because Dunes dropped off the bill.

ASHA SHESHADRI:      I think many show going San Diegans would recognize Asha from her being at  shows over the past couple of years.   She performed as a one piece with an imposing looking keyboard and then some combination of sampling/looping equipment- no drum machine.  Asha is certainly talented and smart enough to grasp some of the essentials of the up and coming girl with a keyboard and looping equipment genre that GRIMES is currently heading up.  It's funny though, because when I actually saw Grimes in Toronto last year I wouldn't have said she was markedly better then Asha last night.  I'm not trying to belittle Grimes or compliment Asha or vice vera, all I'm saying is I've seen them both perform in front of less then 50 people in the past 12 months, and they struck me as essentially being equally talented.  Certainly if anyone was to tell me that Grimes is waaaaay better then Asha, I would just scoff at them.

    That being said, the recent Grimes record clearly reveals how important a command of WARP Records era drum beats is to perfecting a variation of girl with a keyboard and looping/sampling equipment that will play in the sticks (like in San Diego, for example.)  Right now, Asha's music is interesting but static.  That's fine for being the opening band on a four band bill, but I would think she would want to add some beats before she hits the road, lest she fail to make the requisite good impression.  Personally, I like the music the way it is- that's just my observation about the actual market for her music.

 Asha has a tape out on Digitalis LTD (#234) which I will be writing about later.

SUNWHEEL:  I read a review, written in French, of a Crocodiles show in France last summer- they headlined some festival and had an audience of a few thousand people and the reviewer said- in French- this was just the translation, that, "Crocodiles should write more then 2 good songs before they start acting like conceited assholes."  I laughed out loud at the time, and even though I disagree with the observation in reference to the Crocodiles life show, I think it reflects the attitude of a significant portion of the Audience, especially the smaller Audience you get for local bands.

    Sunwheel certainly had some things going for it:  Three piece band with no drummer, just a drum machine,  two guy/one girl that had a press pack ready appearance and an in style gothy synth pop sound that fits in loosely with other Artists that are breaking out of local scenes with a similar sound.

  And while I'm appreciative of stylishness and having an actual stage presence as a local band, the songs need work.  In particular the set closing number needs to be banished, and if it means the set is one song shorter, so be it.   In recorded form the singer's voice is going to be crucial to obtaining any kind of wider interest, and I simply haven't heard any recordings, so I'm not sure if he's got a good voice or not.   Finally, and this is just a helpful suggestion, I don't know if the minimalist drum programming is the way to go, certainly  some more up tempo-ness would be appreciated during the life show.  Maybe a cover song?

  In conclusion though Sunwheel is about a thousand times more interesting then your tradition blues rock or Vampire Weekend inspired four piece with four white men who grew up in upper middle class suburban locations (which seems to comprise about 85% of the local bands in San Diego, CA.) so any criticism contained herein should be taken as positive encouragement, not negativity.

COLLEEN GREEN- What more can I say about Colleen Green other then that the Heavy Hawaii fans (I guess?) who showed up last night and sat at the bar talking through Colleen Green's set are a bunch of rude fucking assholes.  It's just common courtesy.  Ignore the local openers to your hearts content, but give the touring band 15 minutes of your time.  The bottom line is that Colleen is selling a ton of records right now, so it really doesn't matter what a bunch of San Diego losers think, but you were all rude to her, and that's an embarrassing fact.  If you actually watched Colleen Green perform last night you are surely convinced at how amazing she is live.  Colleen Green kills live.

HEAVY HAWAII- Skipped this set mainly because I felt like their fans were rude assholes to Colleen Green.  I'm just waiting for that LP to be finished and get released on Art Fag Recordings later this year.  Maybe early next year at this rate.  It should be noted that Heavy Hawaii def. has an audience of +100 for those of you considering who to book as local acts for upcoming San Diego area events- music festivals, WHAT HAVE YOU.


chickrawker said...

Just some notes to add -

On first listen, Asha reminded me of Bat for Lashes - the Grimes comparison also works. I liked the music but you're right, the stage show will need some work if she heads out on tour.

Sunwheel was just so out of place in that space - they could so rock a gothy, dim lit club.

I had to tap out before Colleen Green went on, but I bought the record and I dig!

Good to see you out :)

by Mario S. said...

Collen Green was great. The reason I went. Finally got the record and the '7 with the picture of her smoking a bowl (impulse buy. she knows her demo man)

Alex said...

Hello, this is Alex, the lead singer of Sunwheel. First of all I would like to say thank you, your review is quite flattering and wildly complimentary. What you saw was our 3rd show in the second month of us being a band. I'm interested to hear what you meant by our songs needing more work. What exactly did you dislike? Your criticism is much appreciated, no sign of negativity were found. also, we have a demo up on bandcamp, if you'd like to hear my voice.
here you are friend.

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