Rykarda Parasol headlined a bill at the Uptown in Oakland on Saturday July 12 that was notable for both its eclectic mix and darkly classic feel. The local blogs are abuzz with Parasol’s new video for “Candy Gold,” a classic cinematic clip that compliments an understated cinematic sound. On guitar and backed by a three-piece band (dubbed the Tower Ravens), Parasol created an atmosphere with noir-ish tunes that wouldn’t be out of place accompanying a 1950’s detective or a determined gun-slinger. Parasol brought with her the darkest elements of folk and classic country and nicely blackened the mood of the room – a mood that had previously been one of exhilaration while Candy Apple performed.
Chico’s Candy Apple would be a tough act for anyone to follow. I was informed the five piece had suffered a rather late night the previous evening, but any lapses in energy were absent from the band’s set. Propelled by Scott “Scott” Barwick’s Farfisa and Jake Sprecher’s guitar/spastic energy (the two share vocal duties), Candy Apple ripped through a set that was consistently rooted in classic rockabilly and rhythm and blues. The band’s hypertension never seemed to lag, with Summer Maroste shaking the tambourine, while Katie Kelley (bass) and Slee Jensen (drums) kept the rhythm twice. Belting out catchy choruses like, “before you leave me, honey / you better think twice,” the band was easy to pick up on lyrically, whether or not you were previously familiar with the band’s work.
A tad more on the gothic side than either act were openers Swann Danger. The band’s dark, post-punk sound was achieved often through minimalist means. The trio features drummer Jim Andersen, while bassist Andy Zevallos also maintains samples. Singer Cynthia Mansourian’s switched up her instrument of choice with nearly every song, occasionally using the guitar, while sometimes simply beating a tambourine or drum. The band’s sound, which mixed elements familiar in the following two bands set a nice tone for the evening.