[Banner Photo by Susanne Morris]
On Friday, December 2nd, KXSU had the honor of welcoming prominent Seattle rockers Naked Giants to our studio for an electrifying performance. This trio is a great bunch of truly engaging performers, and they drew a big crowd to the studio lounge. They were preceded by Seattle University’s own Young Mothers, a rather avant-garde “sad laptop + sad guitar” duo who set the scene for a loud night. We at the station are very thankful that both bands could come and perform for us for our last in-studio of the quarter!
From Seattle University’s own Grif Benzel and Jordan Ward, Young Mothers was an intriguing experience, to say the least. I had not yet heard music from Grif and Jordan previous to their performance, so I entered with no expectations (aside from “You never know what you could get from Grif!”), ready to be molded by their sound, and molded I was. The tracks they brought on Friday were an eclectic mix of electronic (the first two) and rock (the last two) genres. The electronic tracks were dominated by swooping synthesizers from Grif’s laptop while Jordan manned the microphone, offering an especially emotional performance on the second song, “I Smell Like Cigarettes,” which sounded like it was about some sort of rejection (Jordan mentioned it was a very personal song).
My only gripe about these first songs was my difficulty in finding the beat at times, especially on the first track. On other songs, Jordan played drums (very well, especially if they don’t often practice, like they claimed) that brought the songs together, though the group made the decision to have no drums or percussion that I could hear on that first track. Young Mothers’ vibe is hard to pin down in just a few words, but if I had to try, I’d describe them as punk rockers with an affinity for rough synth. Overall, the band gave us a quality, heartfelt performance that was cathartic and satisfying to hear, and I hope we can have them in the studio again soon.
I had heard great things about Naked Giants before they performed, so I knew what I was getting, and I was excited for it. They drew a larger, more energized crowd than we at the studio were used to (a good thing!), even inspiring a brief mosh pit early on in their set, which was a first for this quarter’s performances. As far as the music they played, the Naked Giants trio gave us their repertoire of heavy, dense rock and roll that was as satisfying as it was loud. Their sound and vibe are embodied by a loud, unapologetic presence; from the beefy, omnipresent guitar riffs to some pretty rockin’ physical performances by every band member, but especially lead vocalist Grant. Seriously, merely seeing (let alone hearing) him perform is deserving of its own admission cost, with the way he animates that hair.
My favorite song had to be the nearly eight-minute long final track, “Green Fuzz.” The band truly did go all out for this track, with guitar and drum solos galore that perfectly exhibited their aloof intensity (like, they’re intense, but like, who cares, y’know?). It was a fairly simple song, like most that Naked Giants play, but this builds their appeal, making them sound authentic and honest. “Green Fuzz” itself focuses on a series of simple riffs with some added staccato scream sounds whenever Grant feels it’s necessary. When it came to lyrics, I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t really pay attention to them, but I didn’t need to either. I found that this is a group that sounds best when you let them flow over you, not worrying about exactly what they’re saying, or what you’re doing after the show, or the work you have on Monday. Their unrefined, raw music isn’t relaxing, per se, but the experience of listening to them was somewhat… meditative? I found it hard to think about anything at all with all that guitar and bass and cymbal in my ear, and for someone who usually can’t let go of crap, that felt good.
Overall, we had a great evening with these two wonderful bands, and we were lucky to have them in our studio. Thank you to Naked Giants, Young Mothers, and everyone who came to the show for making it a memorable experience and a great send-off to fall quarter! Y’all can expect more in-studio shows next year, so stay tuned!
JOSH GEST | Tasteful Nudity | KXSU Radio Reporter