Dead Ships, Tapioca And The Flea, Lovelife And Calvin Love At The Jubilee Music And Arts Festival, Saturday June 8th 2013
May be I was more energized on Saturday than on Friday, and I managed to watch more bands’ sets happening on the indoor Myra stage, like the mighty Dead Ships who performed in front of a too thin crowd for their talent,… but it was still very early in the day. The trio was very good and there was nothing dead about them! Their powerful and energetic garage-blues-rock made the walls of the warehouse vibrate, as they were playing with some vigorous punk energy displayed as much in the guitar strums as in the shouted crooning vocals. It was violent but not aggressive, impetuous but majestic, sometimes more fuzzy and distorted, sometimes more poppy and melodious, but always driven by a catchy foot-stamping rhythm propelled by Devlin McCluskey’s soaring and piercing voice. They weren’t trying to reform the Black Keys with three people, their songs were quite diverse with some freak-out punkish numbers alternating with songs like the super catchy, almost Pearl-Jam-goes-triumphant ‘We Were Young’.
On the same stage, I also caught Tapioca and the Flea and their synth-electronic busy pop. They were also producing some nice danceable grooves with a bass almost funky at times, but honestly, they were kind of defying genres. Frontman Sam Lopez was sweating his ass off to sing over this amalgam of electronics meets exotic-tropical rhythms meets new wave meets bright psychedelic pop-rock. With the help of a female friend, they did a cover of Billy Idol’s ‘Eyes Without a Face’, and honestly among all the songs they could have chosen, I didn’t see this one coming at all after having listened to them for 20 good minutes. But this is what good performers do, they surprise their audience!
Lovelife was a synth band with a dark industrial look despite a pop sound, and some smoke machine installed on the stage especially for their set. They looked young and sounded British – their Facebook page says London/Brooklyn – and they played with a great assurance, wearing black outfits and dark sunglasses in the dark, as if they were the next Depeche Mode? In particular, Lee Newell, the singer, looked like the new heartthrob of power synth-pop, kneeling half-way down at each synth big effect, but when he removed his glasses and leather jacket the effect was half gone. It was kind of catchy, kind of pop, kind of dance-y and kind of emo with occasional falsetto in the vocals, and I was moderately intrigued. More research about the band told me that they were in the English band Viva Brother, whose debut album reached #34 in the official UK Albums Chart while being hated by critics. A six-figure contract with Geffen and a gigantic flop later, they broke up before resurging in another direction as Lovelife. ‘This next song is about my ex-girlfriend and you have to be sorry for me’ said Newell at one point… wait a minute, nobody tells me to be sorry for anyone! However, I think he had gained the attention of some females in the crowd.
I totally regret to have only caught Calvin Love’s last two songs, somebody should have told me about him! He had such a great sound, and the last song I have filmed, ‘Cover Up’, started like a spaghetti western ballad while building a wild blues-rock energy before ferociously exploding in total rebellion, quite fascinating,… I mean watch this video below, the sound isn’t the best but it’s fantastic. Plus he was quite easy on the eyes, which doesn’t spoil everything. The other stuff I have listened from him online sounded much more lo-fi and synth-MIDI-drums driven which is weird compared to what I have heard at the Jubilee, but not less intriguing. Calvin Love is Canadian with a punk background, but he is now based in California and has released last year a DIY LP, entitled ‘New Radar’… He will certainly be in my radar next time.