Candysound: On the road again


Over the past year, Jesse Cohen, Erik Wallace, Brendan Silk and I have largely been hiding away in our downstairs practice space, writing and rehearsing the songs for the upcoming Candysound album, and emerging together – pale, sweaty, and squinty-eyed – only for the occasional concert, happy hour, or taco truck run. Last month though, at the end of March, we hit the road for a little weekend-long road trip to play the songs live one more time before heading into the recording studio this May.

The first show of the trip started here at home, in Bellingham, at our favorite drinking establishment. Arguably the best show of this run, playing The Shakedown is always a night we look forward to, and made all the better because of the friends, family, and coworkers who came out and danced along. It was also a reunion of sorts because our pals in Plastic Picnic flew out from New York to play some West Coast dates, and were absolutely a joy to see, and see play live. You may remember Emile and Lincoln (from Learning Team, who are still one of my all-time favorite Bellingham bands). They took all the best parts of Learning Team, tightened up the edges, doubled the hooks, and reverbed the hell out of it, and I couldn’t recommend their new project more highly. As the floor in front of the stage morphed into a dance party under The Shakedown’s shimmering disco ball, a synth band from Seattle named SISTERS closed out the night. Feeling festive, I diligently took it upon myself to try and consume every mini-bottle of champagne in the building, and good times were had.

The next day, we hit the road and headed east towards Wenatchee, bee lining to a popular and appropriately-named drinking hole called Wally’s House of Booze. Mostly, though, we were excited to meet up with our buddies in The Co Founder, who were on the tail end of their own two-week tour. Since we’d seen them last, their time on the road had turned Jake, Luke, and Hayden into unrecognizably tattooed, grizzled, fearsome road warriors. Their set that evening – replete with fireworks and smashing guitars – culminated in Hayden (at the insistence of the chanting crowd that had assembled) sacrificing a baby lamb at The Altar of Rock. While these high-octane stage antics are commonplace for the likes of The Co Founder, this was a first for us and the mere mortals at Wally’s, and this was clearly the highlight of the evening. Afterwards, having survived the throngs of groupies and super-fans who inevitably tried to break into our tour bus, we headed to the after party at the La Quinta up the road, where we quietly debated the merits of dad weed and Tecate vs. Rainier beer late into the wee hours, after being denied access to the hotel pool and hot tub.

Driving through eastern Washington, it’s amazing how quickly band banter devolved into a country drawl as soon as we headed past the mountains and drove through the prairie. We also listened to a lot of radio and accidentally invented a myriad of inside jokes that are more than likely, unfit to print, for a comparable number of reasons. Also, it should also be noted that eastern Washington is stunningly beautiful. Admittedly, I always viewed everything east of the Cascades as The Midwest, and The Midwest as A Toilet, but I am also wrong a lot and about most things. This case, like most, was no different. We headed south from Wenatchee and stopped along several parts of the Columbia Gorge to sightsee and take pictures. It was wonderful.

We made it to Portland via Hood River, and arrived just in time for our third show. The Spare Room in the Northeast is one of those delightfully weird Portland bars that encompasses what I imagine “Keep Portland Weird” actually meant. Not the bearded, unicycle-riding, beekeeping hipster-caricature from Portlandia, but in the form of an un-ironically wacky, genuinely dive-y bar. The crowd that turned out was very friendly and full of familiar faces, and gathered around a stage that clearly used to have a stripper pole in the middle of it. The highlight of the Portland show, for me, was that we got to play with Young Splendor. They are some of my childhood best friends, and all inherent bias aside, absolutely rip live. Their music is reminiscent of 90’s bands like Dinosaur Jr., Pond, and Pavement, and while sounding like a combination of all their influences, still manage to sound eclectic and uniquely their own. For example, they covered both Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” and Emperor X’s “Erica Western Teleport” back-to-back. They were nice enough to offer up their couch and spare bedroom, which we retired to shortly after last call.

The final show of our mini-tour was a basement show on Beacon Hill in Seattle. The opening band was a great indie rock band of the math variety called Coach. They were much better at their instruments than us, and really, really nice; I can’t wait to get them a show here in Bellingham. Our buddies in Retirement (who graciously hosted the show) closed out the night with doomy jams from their new and fantastic “Living Rumor EP”. Seattle was fun because it was a mix of new and old friends – we got met up with our friend Monica, who took some promo shots of us pretending to be good at pool. On a whole, this was a nice, sleepy way to end our weekend out and about. We packed up our gear and said goodbye to the road, for now, but unconvinced we had eaten enough trash this weekend, we stopped at Taco Bell one more time on the way home.

Candysound will be at The Red Room in Seattle May 5-8 recording their third full-length album. Their next show will be at Western Washington University on May 20, with Dog Mountain, Step Dads, and Super Projection, among others!