Kurly Somthing: Have some fun
by Jake Werrion
Kurly Somthing from Seattle are preparing to embark on their longest tour to date; a 24-day run beginning March 6, heading southeast through Boise and Denver, down through Texas to play at the massive SXSW festival, and then making their way north again to end their tour in Bellingham on March 30.
The band is comprised of Kelly Sorbel and Scot Michael, and with the help of Jimmy LaRue, they’re bringing an epic multimedia show to the Swillery (formerly Tubbs). All three musicians are former members of A Gun That Shoots Knives, a band that formed in Bellingham about 10 years ago, and they have returned as Kurly Somthing a number of times over the past two and a half years, playing at places like the Cabin and the Lil’ Wisconsin.
Kurly Somthing’s origins date back roughly three years ago. After some heavy life changes and a problem with addiction, Kelly found himself living with Scot, trying to survive the worst of it. Kelly spent this time drawing and making art, and writing and recording music with Scot as a way to come out of the fog. There was no real goal or aim for the work at first, outside of reaching some level of normalcy, but after a short period of time they had created about seven songs and a body of visual art that all seemed to fit together thematically.
As Kelly’s life came back together, they began shaping their work into a production that could be performed for an audience. The result of that focus are live shows that feature video projections and images to accompany the music, comic book art on display, and giant handmade paper mache monster heads that can (and should) be worn by the audience.
The thematic elements of their work, such the comic book style monsters and the content of their lyrics, suggests a very playful don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously vibe that is beautifully contrasted with their high attention to detail, and their very meticulous and clean sound production, creating this novel work of art. It blends genre: their recorded material covers a large range of styles using a sound laden with thick synths, guitars, heavy drums, and vocoded vocals, while mixing things like country, hip hop, punk, alternative, and metal. They have begun to eschew more traditional venues, such as bars and taverns, in favor of comic book stores, alternative libraries and more all-ages places. They’ve been finding these venues more respectful and accommodating to touring bands, and the multimedia nature of their performances seems to fit more naturally.
There is a great deal of humanity behind the metaphors of the theater they’re creating. Ranging from wrestling inner demons to surviving the apocalypse, they show a subtle message of community running throughout their work. For example, the release of Mixtape 1441 was celebrated with a trash clean-up on Capitol Hill last November, blasting the new tape from a boom box while the band and friends picked up garbage in their neighborhood. This seems to be the mark of true art: the attempt of reaching and connecting with people in new and different ways, to inspire anything.
Kurly Somthing is definitely built upon this idea.
“To be able to travel with music and art,” said Kelly, ”and meet these strangers and have the coolest nights, where you’re not even partying your brains out, you’re just talking to somebody you’re never going to see again, it’s so beautiful.”
For more about the band, see their Facebook page.