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Friday, July 20, 2012

Show Review: La Sera, Magic Trick & Foxxygen

Show Review
La Sera
Magic Trick
& Foxygen
@ Soda Bar, San Diego, CA.

07 20  Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
07 21  San Francisco, CA - Phono del Sol Music and Food Festival
07 26  Portland, OR - Doug Fir
07 27  Seattle, WA - Barboza
07 28    Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore

   This was the first night of what I would call a "west coast jaunt" with La Sera and Magic Trick, with Foxygen thrown in instead of a local opener.   La Sera is fronted by bassist Katy Goodman of The Vivian Girls, Magic Trick's main man is Tim Cohen of San Francisco's, The Fresh & Only's.  Magic Trick is arguably the side-project to Tim Cohen's side project (his solo records) but I'm going to say something controversial here and make the case that Magic Trick is actually a more compelling act then Fresh & Only's.  I know, I know, we're talking about comparing a band that has 750k last fm plays to a side project with less then 20k last fm plays, but I'm willing to state the opinion and suffer the consequences.

  The Soda Bar was "half-full" last night, certainly not a success or failure but with an eight dollar ticket price, the attendance seemed low.

  The first band,  Foxygen, whom the Secretly Canadian distributed label Jagjaguwar seems VERY EXCITED ABOUT.  They played to an indifferent Audience, most of whom chose to watch from the bar.  It was quite obvious that there were only two people there who had "heard of" Foxygen before, but they were literally singing along in front.   Foxygen is billed as a "bi-coastal songwriting duo" but they performed with three other players last night, including a young woman who did tambourine and keyboard squiggles.  Watching them, and being not a scholar of either band in question I was trying to decide whether comparing them to the Kinks or the Byrds was more appropriate, but the Jagjaguwar website chooses the Kinks so I'll go with "Kinks influenced song-writing."   Of course, being able to write compelling songs is more then half of it, and the songs were strong.  The delivery needs work, but presumably that's one of the reasons for doing this tour, since they all looked young.    I would probably adopt a more stripped down touring act at this point, and add members as needed.  If you are a song writing duo, don't be afraid to tour as a duo, that's my advice.  With only eight thousand last fm plays, they have a lot of room to grow and experiment with what works best without worrrying about not meeting Audience expectations.

  Katy Goodman put out a 7" on Art Fag Recordings under the project title All Saints Day.  All Saints Day was a collaboration between Katy Goodman and Gregg Foreman, of Delta 72, Cat Power,  Obviously, Katy went with La Sera, and Hardly Art.  Magic Trick also has a new album out on Hardly Art Records.  That is interesting because Tim Cohen's other band has their next record coming out on Mexican Summer, in September.  That is a pretty neat trick to pull if you are Tim Cohen.

  Magic Trick played second, this is Tim Cohen singing and playing guitar with two women who sing back up and play guitar and bass, and the band is rounded out by an experienced drummer.   They have a new record out that was just released on Hardly Art.  It's called Ruler of the Night.  Got a 6.7 on Pitchfork.
 Record labels crave ballads, and Magic Trick carries the possibility of a much larger Audience then the psych fuzz rock of Fresh & Only's. Most of the songs last night were ballads or ballad-like.  Good for Tim.  I think his future lies in writing and publishing more then in the rock club circuit, where the work ethic and dedication to the craft are drowned out by blog buzz and impatience with established musical idioms.  Magic Trick is an important step in that direction.

  Magic Trick is touring with fellow San Franciscans Sonny & The Sunsets:

08 09  Chicago, IL - Schubas
08 10 Lakewood, OH - Mahalls 20 Lanes
08 11  Toronto, ON - Silver Dollar
08 12 Montreal, QC - Il Motore
08 13 Easthampton, MA - Flywheel
08 14 Somerville, MA - Johnny D's
08 15  Hoboken, NJ - Maxwells
08 16  New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
08 17 Philadelphia, PA - PhilaMOCA
08 18 Brooklyn, NY - Glasslands

  Tim Cohen is one undeniable hit song away from being hailed as an American treasure.

  La Sera headlined with Katy Goodman doing her thing backed by a conventional rock trio, all male.  The Audience seemed excited to see her perform.  I was surprised not to see more of the people who were at the Vivian Girls show last weekend, but that may be a Casbah/Soda Bar issue.   With over 800k last fm plays, La Sera/Katy Goodman doesn't need to apologize for anything she does, we're talking about an Artist who has close to two million plays on Last Fm if you add La Sera to a third of the Vivian Girls- which is the same size as Dum Dum Girls, for example.   I would think based on the size of her last fm Audience that she would have drawn more people to the Soda Bar on a Thursday night, but I don't know what the final count was at the door. 


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