Weekend at The Independent in San Francisco on July 26, 2013 with additional photos from Blu Kicks showroom on July 25.
With so much content being produced every second and never enough time to process even a fraction of its output, one way to get yourself heard in these sensory-exhausting times is to remind recurrently about your goods. Not that some us needed much mnemonic deploys for the Weekend’s latest LP, but it seems the marketing team behind the atmospheric post punk trio has been immensely busy pushing Jinx into our faces.
Since their debut album, Sports, struck the right chords with the mercurial music world in 2010, delivering a follow-up record of comparable plaudits is a bit perturbing, not only for the makers, but also for their consumers. From the striking visuals for Jinx and the hype of its release concocted by their team, it’s as if we are told how great Weekend’s new record will be, even before we had the chance to listen and assess. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t live in a world preoccupied with comparing, critiquing, and rating (and I don’t deny my guilty participation). Then we could hear Jinx not as a divergence from Sports but as an odyssey of three young men who live and breathe the contradictions of life. And maybe the press wouldn’t focus so much on a band’s move from Oakland to Brooklyn. But thanks to diligent journalists, we know now that the relocation was not so much about Weekend’s career, but more about their personal sanity. Still, there are plenty of speculations about the group known to be dark and loud.
To clarify some of the information I’ve been fed through the Internet, I decided to take a little trip down from Portland to catch Weekend for their homecoming Jinx release event(s) in San Francisco. Before their show at The Independent on Friday 26, a private function took place at a shoe manufacturer’s (Blu Kicks) showroom in North Beach. With the addition of their good friend, Nick Ray on bass, the foursome squeezed into the small storefront for an eight-song set. According to frontman, Shaun Durkan, Ray’s status as an official member is yet to be confirmed, but the bassist looked as if he had always been with Weekend. The sun had barely caught some Z’s when the quenching pounding and plucking stopped. By that time, the bar had run out of glasses before the alcohol. Well, guess that was a good fate telling me to save up my tolerance for the next day.
Jinx may signal Weekend’s maturing process, but the lads still have much of restlessness and playfulness I first encountered two years ago at Treasure Island music festival. I arrived at The Independent just as the soundcheck was underway. Witnessing the process were members of one the opening acts and a fellow Slumberland artist, Wax Idols, while the other band on the bill, Chasms, would arrive later. In the back corner, Weekend’s management laid out the exquisite variety of Jinx merchandise. Diagonally opposite from the dry goods table, was the DJ booth, where Mike Schulman (Kid Frostbite) warmed up his vinyl player while Kerry McCoy of Deafheaven manned the iPad. They would take turns in between the stage performances to play some tunes so that one may never experience the absence of music.
After some repose and laughter fest of Irish accent foolery, courtesy of Ray, we walked into the bustling Friday night for some dinner. Drummer Abe Pedroza was eager to try an organic Mexican eatery, Nopalito. He had called in about 40-minutes prior to our arrival, but guess there was still another half an hour to be waited. The band tried to kill time with some AC/DC impersonation. When it seemed impossible to ever get a table, Durkan left to settle for some chips backstage while guitarist Kevin Johnson and Perdoza decided to get takeaways at a snazzy deli nearby. Guess in New York, giving the run around to get a table is not so common as in the Bay Area.
Initially, Weekend’s set felt a bit short with less than a dozen songs, but guess one can only scream and shred the strings for so long. In retrospect, five songs from Jinx, mixed with four tracks from Sports, with “Sweet 16”/ “Hazel” from Red EP kept the show from becoming superfluous. Like information, you give too much, and you lose some of the mystery that holds your interest. When Weekend came out on stage, I found myself near Durkan’s family. His mother, aunt, and even his grandmother were there to watch the singer/guitarist’s performance attentively, if not in excitement. The opening track of Jinx, “Mirror”, with a hazy, ominous bass and guitar timbre, naturally lends itself as the intro to their live show. For those who thought Weekend was toning things down, fear not – new material climaxes with speed and distortion, just as numbers from Sports caught your attention with its ferocity. Jinx has allowed Durkan’s vocals to be more confident and significant, making their music even more cathartic. Ending the night with “Coma Summer” satiated the much-needed abreaction. Thanks team Weekend for the great start to my weekend.
|Adam Green - Adam Green, Binki Shapiro (Block Party) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg||Paul Weller Paul Weller, Matthew Ryan @ Webster Hall, NYC (Pics)|