Telekenesis, BellaMaine, Candysound: March 9th at The Shakedown
The evening started off with local band Candysound, who brought their dependable indie pop sound to an eager crowd. Candysound set the stage perfectly for the rest of the night, ending a solid set to hand off to Anacortes band, BellaMaine.
Husband and wife duo Nick and Julianne Thompson front the band, Nick on guitar and Julianne on keyboard, alternating vocal leads and harmonies. The rest of the band consists of Jordan Nielsen on bass and synth, and Gaelan Francis Sylvia on drums. As a whole, the group creates twangy, indie pop melodies complete with the occasion “whoa, whoa” harmonies. Although they are all clearly good musicians, nothing seemed surprising or unexpected about BellaMaine.
Northwest Indie pop bands unfortunately tend to fall into the patter of playing pop driven rock with a hint of folk, which can almost be more satisfying to listen to on record while making a Sunday breakfast than at a live show. To their credit, however, BellaMaine did pick up the pace toward the end of their set with new songs from their latest EP “An Anxious Mind,” which gained them enough attention for a KEXP Live In-Studio earlier this year. The last two songs, “An Anxious Mind” and “3 Years,” left the crowd in good spirits and ready for Telekinesis.
Lerner, signed to Merge records in 2009, was the soul member of his dream-child, Telekinesis, until recently when he added three backing members: Erik Walters of The Globes on guitar, Say Hi’s Eric Elbogen on bass, and member of Wild Flag and The Minders on keyboard, Rebecca Cole (not to be confused with our Rebecca Cole of What’s Up!). Learner, dressed in a red and white striped shirt and blue jeans, sat at his white drum set in the center of the stage, and with the wind up of his NW freckled arms started the set off with “Coast of Carolina” from his first self-titled full length.
The set consisted of a good mix of old songs from both of his full lengths “Telekinesis” and “12 Desperate Straight Lines,” as well as new songs from his upcoming album due April 2. The new songs kept the classic Telekinesis sound and seemed well received by the audience.
In between songs Lerner would stand and joke with the crowd. The running joke of the night was his new kinship with The Palisades drummer, Noah Magen, who was also wearing a striped shirt. Lerner deemed Magen part of the “Striped Shirt Club.”
With the release of their third album it will be interesting how hear how Telekinesis fills and matures their sound, while still keeping their playful nature. Although the songs are good individually, they tend to lack variety and fall into the same sound with simple, non-technical drumming paired with upbeat melodies. Their latest release “12 Desperate Straight Lines,” exemplified Learner’s ability to branch out by adding more lively guitar riffs and catchier lyrics.
As a whole the show flowed really smoothly. The new band members were on point with Lerner’s abrupt starts and endings, and backup vocals from Cole helped to fill out the sound. Learner’s vocals, which can sometimes be spotty due to his simultaneous drumming, were for the most part well executed.