Third Space Art Collective was the venue, a cozy, unassuming warehouse shortly off campus. Inside a traffic cone chandelier hung from the rafters splashing the stage with an orange hue, and Christmas lights were vibrantly tangled along the stage floor. How’s that sound? Daniel Trudeau of Sacramento-based pop project Pregnant crooned sweetly on the left side. In the center was a monitor displaying Katamari Forever, smeared with rainbows and free to play for any worthy or willing soul in the front row. And with all the colors and charms from the screen, proportionate pop melodies came from the amps: twinkling synthetics, clicking drums, and a definite pop groove. The sound was luminescent, glitchy, and progressed with a certain tinkering effect, like an elaborate pop-fueled Rube Goldberg machine. The grooves themselves fell right into place, maybe reminiscent of classic [adult swim] bumpers with a new neon shade. And it was at this point that the first set ended and the warehouse opened its garage door maw for us to haply enjoy the cold air outside.
After tapping my feet to DJ GLSS for a short while and gathering back into the warehouse, Genuis had already set down a heavy blanket of dreamy ambient sound. The atmosphere had slowed to a steady cruising speed with a mild bass groove and the most subtle echo on Elboi’s serene vocals. Is it loud enough? Most notable was the misty “Hwaiian Wdding” with its lulling guitar loop bubbling steady over clicking shells. The downtempo surf and shore feel was comparable to Beach House in beauteous slow motion. It was the kind of sound that cradles the body head to toe, best enjoyed with the gentlest sway of the hips and shoulders, eyes closed. It was all the wisp and intangibility of a cloud mixed with the quick translucent shine of a pane of glass. This one’s bangin’. The set gradually built itself to a solid dancing finish with much fidelity, in any case. Circling synths, well-built drum patterns, and a crowd eager to push and shove was really all it took.
One last round of smoking, squatting, or stamping outside ended quickly. Twin Steps’ presence had already amassed a crowd, and I took to the rafters for an aerial view of the pit already brewing—the boards rumbled nicely with all the noise. The drums were pounding and each riff was lavish and unabashed. Down on the floor the crowd was a vortex obeying the music. And after all any mosh where the mic cord gets involved is a great one. Here, the guitars swirled up and down in sweet succession until the punk gave way to the soul. This feedback is crazy, but it sounds hella good! The softer, ballad tunes did well to texture the set and even subdue the pit to a mellow back-and-forth head bob. And then came a tangible breeze of genuine emotion—some measure of fidelity in the sound, the singing guitars, or the drums that pounded a little closer to earth. Two more—forever! The bobbing heads had since tangled themselves up in one long soul-punk-induced embrace; the funk groove was rising up. Closer “Junkie Song” bolted out with guitars fiercely peeling up and down and, of course, few irresistibly anthemic shouts. The crowd had since snaked together and coiled up inside of itself—an emotional spectacle in its own right. And, like a flash, it was over. Rumor even has it that it was Twin Steps’ last show for an indefinite period of time. All I can say is that it’s a damn shame.
For more info:
Words by Dynn Javier
Photos by Chris Hayes