Audrye Sessions at Giovanni’s
By Matt Cappiello

Giovanni’s is the new CBGB’s. On March 30, 1974, CBGB’s stalwarts the Ramones performed their first show ever. On February 2, 2006, the Audrye Sessions performed a show in Isla Vista and, although it wasn’t as good as the Ramones, it was pretty damn good. Packing a crowd of over 100 into a drunk-stop pizza parlor, the Sessions – with fellow chums Push to Talk – delivered a nine-course meal of astonishing credibility.

“This is one of the best shows we’ve ever played,” said singer-guitarist Ryan Karazija, speaking from the same altitude as the audience, which was made up of numerous striped T-shirts and circulatory system-constricting pants. Giovanni’s doesn’t really have a stage – rather, it lays claim to a few wooden planks and some neon beer signs. However, given the choice of venues in the Goleta region, Giovanni’s served the best fit for the free event. It didn’t matter anyway, as the Audrye Sessions were simply sublime. Singer James Leste from Push to Talk – subbing for drummer Alex Feldman for the night – delivered delectable dance-pop rhythms, turning the traditional Gang of Four herky-jerk into something special and original. Melodically, the other members sounded more grandiose, combining the chord-heavy sensibilities of Radiohead with the frenetic virility of the Arcade Fire. Violinist Anton Patzner from Oakland, a bona fide indie-rock celebrity, recently toured with Bright Eyes and the Faint.

“I basically met them on the street,” said Patzner. “I was playing on the street outside a Cursive show. One day, they e-mailed me and asked me, ‘Wanna play on a Bright Eyes tour?'” Openers Push to Talk were nearly equal in awesomeness, with a more traditionalist indie slant. Leste proved adept and scream-worthy on vocals, his neck veins often bulging to sexually charged proportions.

As a concluding note, I would just like to mention that Isla Vista needs more shows like this. We have a ton of musical resources at our disposal, yet the “scene” is woefully lacking in comparison to the mid-1990s. Maybe it’s the extinction of the Living Room in Goleta, maybe it’s the Bacchanalian enchantment of DP, maybe it’s the epicenters of Berkeley and Los Angeles driving away the bands. Either way, we need more spectacular Sessions gigs, or something quite like it.