Wakes, Kal Marks (Solo) @ Thieves Grotto (12/21/14)

First things first – a big thank you to our pal Scott from TeleVibes for giving me a lift to the show and, before that, tipping off that there was a show happening at the bustling Thieves Grotto. Chris has compared this basement gem to a mini Great Scott. I like that description. This particular show – a little less than a week before Christmas – was not the super packed, sweaty, raging teen/young adult festivity of yesteryear BUT it was a fun time.

Wakes is big man on campus, big man in big basement Tim Oxton singing and slinging guitar with Hadden Stemp on guitar, Amelia Gormley on keys and J Cole on drums. Count me in as a supporter of this crew. The reverby guitars are real urban, real existential. Tim’s deep narratives reach massive pinnacles during the choruses of practically every tune here. These are the memories you don’t have. A cool core of the tunes remind me of speedy mid 2000s Walkmen, some of the more underwatery jams go in a Beach Fossils direction. Quite honestly though Wakes’ Feral Youth is a monster recording – the first two tracks ‘specially, “Widows” in my deranged musical comprehension has some parts reminiscent of BLITZKRIEG BOP. Think maybe Tim figured out what I meant. The more you know the less you understand. Some times lil self-descriptors are off but LATE NIGHT MUSIC rocks this crew’s roll. ENJOY ON BC

As you know Kal Marks are typically a sludgy, beastly pop trio but him or it has also been/is a lone dude, Carl, you know the singer the guy with that instantly recognizable voice. Tonight, it is solo Kal Marks and for me anyway the performance is just as fine as the whole schabang. This is a sit down electric affair, pedals and all, the songs arranged/done somewhat differently than the album cuts. Best way I can put watching this set is like a perfect flow from song to song, including some of the Piss of the Century that I positively fanned on about a couple of years ago and ending with Life is Murder from Life is Murder the big boy juggernaut jam that might be five amazing parts or songs in one. The quiet lonely ending from this solo doing turning itself into a whispering or silent sing-a-long for the un-initiated. Happy to see Kal Marks going strong since seeing ’em at the ole Problem House with Peach Kelli Pop. ENJOY ON BC

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