Birds & Batteries
Photos by: Irja Elisa

In a city with heavy feet, three bands expertly got the kids dancing at the Rickshaw Stop last Friday. Spinning Platters presented a lineup that was a young folks' response to the confines of classical music - making technically excellent music with fierce rawness and energy.

"Sister Crayon blew my mind," was the refrain from both Birds & Batteries and Judgement Day, which was an apt description for this up-and-coming Sacramento band. Singer Terra Lopez's wild and vulnerable singing is the ghost of a soul singer. The band uses a combination of live and electric drumming and guileless piano melodies to lay down a steady foundation; over this, Lopez builds and breaks down the songs, nimbly switching between a rap-styled cadence and an operatic, full-throated howl.

The video for their song "(in) reverse", which garnered attention from VH1, MTV and Dazed and Confused, gives you a sense of their sound but has nothing on the vibrancy of their live performance. The band's next performance is in Sacramento on June 6th at the Blue Lamp; their full length, Bellow, is due out in the latter half of 2010. Listening feels like: remixing a breakup opera in a haunted house.

Judgement Day had a brilliant opening for their set: lights out and apocalyptic music building, the audience shouted as the band made their entrance. Violinist Anton Patzner raised his bow high as the crowd peaked and brought it down into the violent energy of the first song. From theatrics to sick technical playing, Judgement Day is the complete metal package. Accomplishing the sound and intensity of metal with only a violin, cello and drums, they are also pioneers in what they term "string metal."

Regardless of what kind of music you are into, the energy of their performance could lift you clear off the ground; this is a band to get out and see live. They are playing an acoustic show on June 6th at the East Village Coffee Lounge in Monterey, CA and hopefully sometime soon in the City. Listening feels like: the devil's symphony.

Birds & Batteries' best achievement is the graceful and surprising way they move from genre to genre within a song - any given tune moves from rock to pop to electro to hip hop fluidly and creatively. The night owl audience loved it, particularly their cover of The Who's "Squeezebox." The highlight of their set was "Strange Kind of Mirror," a catchy, new song that gets inside your head and your heart. It showcases guitarist Christopher Walsh's teasing, taut riffs and songwriter Mike Sempert's knack for combining the eccentric and the everyman.

Look for it on their upcoming release, Panorama, in the fall and catch them live at Cafe du Nord with Grand Hallway on July 11th. Listening feels like: Your nerdy neighbor hooked up your old tincan phone to his synth and began writing you late night dance songs - fun, familiar and ingenious.

Birds & Batteries

Birds & Batteries

Birds & Batteries

Birds & Batteries

Birds & Batteries

Judgement Day

Judgement Day

Judgement Day

Judgement Day

Judgement Day

Sister Crayon

Sister Crayon

Sister Crayon

Sister Crayon

Sister Crayon

Tags: , ,