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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Show Review: Hanni El Khatib & Bass Drum of Death @ The Casbah

Bass Drum of Death played the Casbah last night.

Show Review:
 Hanni El Khatib & Bass Drum of Death
 @ The Casbah

   100% I was at this show because I got an email from a PR company (Life or Death.)  My experience reading press reports for bands struggling to make it on a national level makes me realize how important local music blogs can be for bands, labels and public relations professionals- so why not participate more fully via this blog?  I positively encourage people to email me about San Diego area live music events, or film events. I think my posts make a valuable addition to any end of campaign press report.

  Press-release-genesis aside, I did have other motivations for attending the Hanni El Khatib, Bass Drum of Death show at the Casbah.  Specifically, it wouldn't be the craziest thing in the world to put out a record by Bass Drum of Death.  I'm not saying it's happening- the opposite- but it's a good exercise for me to go out and identify a band I might potentially work with, and go watch that band, and then think about what I would do if I were to release their record.  What is interesting about Bass Drum of Death is that they have released two nationally promoted LP's on two different labels, Fat Possum & Innovative Leisure.

  The Casbah was packed and 91x was out in force. I walked in at the beginning of the Bass Drum of Death and watched them play their bass-less garage-rocky tunes. Bass Drum of Death are somewhere between Garage Rock and Stoner Rock on the spectrum of "underground rock band sounds."  The playing is national level- I'm not a huge Stoner Rock guy, but it was hard not to think of Dead Meadow four or five years ago.  There were flashes of song writing/singing talent- particularly the set closer, but most importantly they had a solid audience who dug the vibe.  Mission accomplished.  I think there is a future there, but they need to settle down with the right label. Maybe Innovative Leisure is it.  I want to know why 91x was at this show, and if the PR/Label had something to do with it.  QUESTIONS.

 Headliner Hanni El Khatib has 35k Facebook friends but only 615k Last FM plays- a variance that makes me suspicious of the Facebook friends number. I'm sorry, but it is hard not for me to think of Hanni El Khatib as deriving from the Badlands era Dirty Beaches character, particularly when his Last FM bio starts like this:

Hanni El Khatib is a singer-songwriter and musician based in Los Angeles. The son of Palestinian and Filipino immigrants (and the first American in his family), Hanni El Khatib grew up in San Francisco and was obsessed with classic Americana and pop culture of the 1950s and 60s. Influenced by pioneers of early Rock and R&B, the multi-instrumentalist serves as singer, songwriter & producer for his one-man band (live he is joined by drummer Nicky Fleming-Yaryan) mixing a unique sound of ‘50/’60s blues, soul, garage rock & doo whop(sic).

   I mean what does that sound like?  Personal suspicions aside he's managed to build an Audience without so much as a nod of acknoledgment from the Pitchfork crowd, and that interests me.  He has fans- they were there- and they liked his stuff.  Like many solo Artists, Khatib has added a band to add punch to the 20 city club tour scene, and it paid off at this show with the crowd being enthusiastic and participatory.  The show was a success, and bodes well for the future of both acts as touring/releasing entities. 

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