One of my favorite bands on Earth plays a tiny basement venue in Seattle while I just so happen to be in town, and this time they don’t disappoint.
Opener: Thor and Friends
Thor is a big guy, and pretty freaking versatile. He played piano, trumpet, and percussion while his band mates played soothing and spellbinding xylophone. Yes, this was a band that consisted of only two xylophones, a synthesizer, a piano, a trumpet, and some bells and chimes, playing instrumentals – and it worked. When all three of them were playing some extravagant melodies on the two xylophones together, it was bizarrely beautiful and something I won’t soon forget. At the same time, this is not the type of music that I will be seeking out and streaming to listen to in my day to day life. Leave it to Timber Timbre to throw something unique and unexpected at me, just like they did the first time I saw them (Xiu Xiu, which was bizarre but terrible).
Headliner: Timber Timbre
Though no one I have ever discussed Timber Timbre with had ever heard of them, they are easily one of my ten favorite contemporary bands on the planet. Taylor Kirk’s witty yet dark songwriting coupled with spaghetti country-western meets horror film sonic aesthetic is something unlike anything else in music today. Most folks that I have forced recommended them to did not care for them, but I am certain that I am on to something here. This shit is good, and not just in a kooky shtick type of way. Taylor’s songwriting changed a bit and the music found on TT’s latest LP, Sincerely, Future Pollution has set the band off on a new Pink Floyd-influenced tangent. It is quite fulfilling, especially after repeated listens, but is also a far cry from the minimalist, haunting vibes of their debut, the classic eponymous album.
Remember the last time you had incredibly palpable anticipation for something and in the end you were left with disappointment? Maybe it was a vacation you planned for a year that went to shit, a first date when that girl you are crazy about finally agrees to see you, and it’s a dud, or that crap sophomore album from the band with the incredible debut. I first had the chance to see Taylor and his guys in Portland in 2015 and I was pumped up. I had planned a five-day trip to the Oregon coast around it, convincing my wife to come see the show even though she couldn’t stand the music I so adore. While the performance in front of ~200 people was fine and by no means a stinker, it left me wanting so much more. It wasn’t just the lack of violin or female backing vocals, although that was a bummer – the fellas just seemed to lack energy.
Thankfully, this time Taylor and crew came ready to rock. Which is ironic, because the crowd at Barboza couldn’t have been more than 60 people. As soon as Taylor strutted out in his best rhinestone cowboy meets Jim Morrison look, I had a good feeling about the evening.
Once they started playing, it was clear this band was out to prove a point and convince their fans that the new music works. My favorite nuance of a Timber Timbre show is how Taylor augments the vocals, accentuating the last word of some of the lines, occasionally frantically shouting the last word. The fact that they started with a plodding and extended version of one of my favorites, “Bad Ritual”, didn’t hurt.
All told, they played six songs from the newest LP, and only two from their debut that I so adore – but one of them was the show closer “Trouble Comes Knocking”, which is the song I would call my favorite composition of all time (Of. All. Time.) if you put a gun to my head. Although the epic studio recording features a 90-second violin and accordion outro that might be the most beautiful thing I have ever heard, and on this night we settled for guitar playing the part instead, it still was glorious. When they thanked us and walked off afterwards, I was still in what Jon Stewart would call my “Moment of Zen”.
Until the Night is Over
Sincerely, Future Pollution
Velvet Gloves & Spit
Beat the Drum Slowly
Run From Me
Trouble Comes Knocking